Public programs offering health insurance, nutrition assistance, and child care subsidies can help many low-income working families make ends meet, boosting their chances for long-term success. But duplicative requirements and bureaucratic barriers too often get in their way and impose unnecessary burdens on state workers.
States participating in the Work Support Strategies (WSS) Initiative are testing changes in policy, service delivery, and technology to streamline and integrate health and human services programs. With the deadline for Affordable Care Act implementation just months away, these states are seizing the moment to modernize health and human services at the same time. Their goals: to assist eligible families in getting and keeping work support benefits and to foster government effectiveness and efficiency. The danger: that keeping so much reform moving forward at once could be overwhelming.
Contributors to “New Perspectives on Transforming States’ Health and Human Services” discuss important advances and practical lessons for federal, state, and local leaders from WSS’s debut year.
Stacy Dean, vice president, food assistance policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
John Eller, director, Catawba County Social Services (Hickory, N.C.)
Olivia Golden, Institute fellow and Work Support Strategies project director, Urban Institute (moderator)
Anthony Keck, director, health and human services, State of South Carolina
Michelle Saddler, secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services
Alice Weiss, co-director, Maximizing Enrollment, National Academy for State Health Policy