Health Reform and Higher Ed: Campuses as Harbingers of Medicaid Universality and Medicare Commonality

Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Vol. 47, Supp. 4, Pp. 79-90 (2019)

21 Pages Posted: 2 Jan 2020 Last revised: 13 Feb 2020

See all articles by Sallie Thieme Sanford

Sallie Thieme Sanford

University of Washington - School of Law; University of Washington - School of Public Health

Date Written: October 4, 2019

Abstract

Between 2010 and 2016, the percentage of uninsured higher education students dropped by more than half. All the Affordable Care Act’s key access provisions contributed, but the most important factor appears to be the Medicaid expansion. This article is the first to highlight this phenomenon and ground it in data. It explores the reasons for this dramatic expansion of coverage, links it to theoretical frameworks, and considers its implications for the future of health reform. Drawing on Medicaid universality scholarship, I discuss potential consequences of including the educationally privileged in this historically stigmatized program. Extending this scholarship, I argue that the student experience and its reverberating effects portend support for emerging proposals to make Medicare a more common option. Woven into both analyses is the role of the Trump-era retrenchment, notably the administration’s promotion of Medicaid “work or community engagement” requirements and of cheap, skimpy plans. Higher education students were an afterthought in the ACA’s debates, and yet the law has profoundly impacted their coverage options. Students are now much more likely to have health insurance, and for it to be comprehensive. Looking to the next decade, the student experience harbingers support for both Medicaid universality and Medicare commonality.

Keywords: Affordable Care Act, ACA, Obamacare, Medicaid, higher education, college students, health insurance, colleges, universities, short-term limited duration plans (STLDs)

Suggested Citation

Sanford, Sallie Thieme, Health Reform and Higher Ed: Campuses as Harbingers of Medicaid Universality and Medicare Commonality (October 4, 2019). Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Vol. 47, Supp. 4, Pp. 79-90 (2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3501937

Sallie Thieme Sanford (Contact Author)

University of Washington - School of Law ( email )

William H. Gates Hall
Box 353020
Seattle, WA 98105-3020
United States

HOME PAGE: https://www.law.washington.edu/directory/profile.aspx?ID=261

University of Washington - School of Public Health

Seattle, WA
United States

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