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Archived: The Task Force on the Future of Health Insurance

This program is now closed.

Despite a prolonged period of economic growth over the 1990s, strains on existing public and private health insurance programs have intensified. The United States health care system—with its wealth of hospitals, clinics, laboratories, and professionals—continues to lead the industrialized world in health care spending per person and capacity to provide cutting-edge health care services, yet a high proportion of the population lacks basic access to those resources. The nation entered the 21st century with 43 million uninsured—nearly one of five people under age 65.

The Task Force on the Future of Health Insurance was a national, independent, nonpartisan initiative established by The Commonwealth Fund to identify strategies to expand and improve health insurance coverage for America's workers and their families. The Task Force worked to promote a health insurance system that meets the needs of a 21st-century workforce and gives working families access to stable, high-quality, affordable health insurance. The Task Force also sought to keep the debate on health insurance coverage for the nation's uninsured and underinsured high on the national agenda. The Task Force was directed by Cathy Schoen, vice president of The Commonwealth Fund, and chaired by James M. Mongan, M.D., president and CEO of Partners HealthCare, Inc.

Highlights of their work include the release of several reports featuring the different 'faces' of uninsured Americans and a series of commissioned papers looking at policy options to reduce the numbers of uninsured workers and families. Together, these reports explain why some Americans are at high risk of being uninsured and suggest approaches that could open new opportunities for insurance or strengthen existing ones. Particular groups featured in the reports included working-age adults, midlife workers, Hispanics, and younger adults.