Utilizing advocacy to promote the adoption and implementation of Medicaid policies that increase insurance coverage among adolescents

Individual Author(s) / Organizational Author
Tibbits, Melissa
Grimm, Brandon
Wheelhouse, Carey
Maloney, Shannon
Abresch, Chad
Lyons, Kiara
Palm, David
Elsevier Inc.
October 2023
Journal of Adolescent Health
Abstract / Description

Purpose: The Promise of Adolescence: Realizing Opportunity for All Youth report recommends several Medicaid policies to increase insurance coverage among adolescents: approve Medicaid expansion; eliminate the 5-year Medicaid waiting period for lawfully present adolescent immigrants; increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for adolescent health services to the level of Medicare; and ensure coverage and sufficient reimbursement of comprehensive health services. We designed this study to identify key advocates and factors relevant to adoption and implementation of the recommended Medicaid policies in Nebraska to highlight opportunities for additional advocacy.
Methods: We conducted semi-structured interviews January 2022 with 28 adolescent health and health-care access experts in Nebraska, including representatives from health care, education, government, and nonprofit sectors. We recorded the interviews and transcribed them verbatim, then coded data using NVivo software and identified key themes.
Results: Participants were unable to identify any Medicaid advocates or advocacy work focused on adolescents, but they did identify 35 organizations working to improve insurance coverage in Nebraska. Coordinated multisector, statewide coalitions secured the adoption of Medicaid expansion through a citizen-supported ballot initiative. Barriers to successful implementation include limited Medicaid outreach to citizens and lawfully present immigrants. Low state government support for increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates and providing comprehensive health services, coupled with the absence of coordinated advocacy, hinder the adoption of these recommendations.
Discussion: Advocacy efforts should be implemented to increase adoption and implementation of Medicaid policies recommended to increase adolescents' insurance coverage. These efforts must be built on a foundation of knowledge of state government practices and must utilize sustained partnership among multisector advocates, including adolescent-serving professionals. (author abstract) #P4HEwebinarDecember2023

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