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Health Reform Drives Innovations in Delivery of Human Services

The Urban Institute has published a new commentary collection on the first year of Work Support Strategies (WSS), a five-year, multi-state project that is designing, testing, and implementing more effective, streamlined, and integrated approaches to delivering key supports for low-income working families.  In my contribution, I outline lessons that we’ve learned from past performance and look ahead to the initiative’s future as states implement health reform:

Most guidance from the federal government on the [Affordable Care Act, or] ACA so far has been focused on changes to health programs.  While this information is crucial, it neglects the overwhelming majority of states administering Medicaid and human services jointly. WSS states play a crucial leadership role in discovering how to blend new Medicaid eligibility rules and customer service standards with delivery of other human services programs.  They’re using lessons of the past and assessing how they can achieve new efficiencies to test creative solutions to provide all the necessary benefits to their most vulnerable people.  They will be innovators on the path to creating modern, efficient systems that serve the poorest families comprehensively while delivering first-class customer service at a low cost to the taxpayer.

Click here to read the whole commentary collection on WSS, including my piece and 11 others.

Stacy Dean

Vice President for Food Assistance Policy