The RAND Corporation's COMPARE Initiative provides information and tools to help policymakers, the media, and other interested parties understand, design, and evaluate health policies. The COMPARE website presents a range of policy options that allows the user to explore the effects of commonly proposed health care reforms.
This document explores how expanding Medicaid/SCHIP eligibility would affect health system performance along nine dimensions. Expansion would substantially reduce consumer financial risk for those newly insured and would increase coverage by 6 to 26 percent. Expanded coverage should improve the health of some groups, as measured by life expectancy. The effect of Medicaid/SCHIP expansion on waste or patient experience is uncertain. Expansion would have no discernible effect on overall health care spending but would increase government spending. Expansion is unlikely to affect the reliability of care or health system capacity. Expanding Medicaid/SCHIP eligibility would be relatively simple because the administrative infrastructure already exists.