Heidi Allen

The cost of being uninsured in America

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About Heidi Allen

Heidi Allen studies the impact of health and social policies on the well-being of low-income families. As a clinical practitioner in mental health and emergency departments, Heidi observed stark health disparities in patients she worked with. In response, she decided to focus on informing evidence-based policies to reduce these health gaps. Heidi was a leading investigator on the landmark Oregon Health Insurance Experiment – the first randomized study in the United States to evaluate the impacts of a Medicaid health insurance expansion on uninsured adults. She was a 2014 – 2015 American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow in Health & Aging Policy and a recipient of the 2016 Columbia University Tsunoda Senior Fellowship program. Currently, Heidi is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at Columbia University, where she teaches courses on health policy and advanced policy practice.

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About This Talk

In America today, over 70 million children, adults, and elderly people are enrolled in the Medicaid program. However, there's still major disagreement regarding the benefits of the program and whether it's worth funding at all.

Heidi Allen, social worker turned health policy researcher, has spent the last decade studying Medicaid and exposing some of the persistent myths surrounding the program. As a lead researcher on the most rigorous study of Medicaid to date, known as the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment, Heidi examined causal pathways between Medicaid and patient outcomes, providing a solid ground of evidence to stand on when evaluating the Medicaid program. With Medicaid expansion up for vote in Idaho and Utah this November, it's as important as ever to understand exactly what the program has to offer for low-income people across the country. Check out Heidi's 2017 TEDMED Talk to learn the facts and hear her case for Medicaid expansion.

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