Understanding how lives and communities can be transformed by sound policies and access to quality health care

Our Issues

For nearly 40 years, our health policy scholars have helped lawmakers understand the scope of the country’s health care problems and costs, evaluated how public policies affect lives and communities, and provided insights about payment and service delivery reforms. We understand the myriad factors that can influence a person’s health, and our research tools allow us to track and predict trends and outcomes rigorously and accurately. In our work analyzing employer-based coverage, Medicare and Medicaid, the health care safety net, and state and local initiatives to improve population health, we are providing the answers decisionmakers need to address health problems in America.

Our Approach

  • We use our Health Insurance Policy Simulation Model to forecast the effects of policy changes on insurance costs and coverage and on employers and individuals.
  • We analyze data from major federal surveys to identify trends in health care coverage, costs, access, and quality.
  • Where federal and state surveys lack information, we collect and analyze qual­itative data through case studies and conduct our own surveys to track health insurance coverage and health outcomes in real time.
  • We provide technical assistance to state and local policymakers as they put policies and programs into practice.
  • We study disparities in access to care—by race and ethnicity and socioeconomic status, across states, and between public and private insur­ance—identifying where gaps exist and how to close them. 

Our Impact

Urban’s scholars are among the nation’s leading experts on health coverage and its reform. Our research informed the development of the Massachusetts plan under Governor Romney, and our analyses of the plan’s strengths and weaknesses directly informed the design and implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Today, our scholars are a trusted source for comprehensive ACA analysis, tracking whether it is working as intended on local, state, and national levels. Since ACA’s passage, our findings have been mentioned thousands of times by both the law’s opponents and its champions—in the media, Congress, and Supreme Court hearings.