The Fund supports several networks of state health policymakers to help identify, inspire, and inform policy leaders.
The Fund identifies and shares policy ideas and analysis on topics important to state health policymakers, particularly on issues related to state leadership, primary care, aging, and total costs of care.
Keep up with news and updates from the Milbank Memorial Fund. And read the latest blogs from our thought leaders, including Fund President Christopher F. Koller.
The Fund publishes The Milbank Quarterly, as well as reports, issues briefs, and case studies on topics important to health policy leaders.
The Milbank Memorial Fund is an endowed operating foundation that publishes The Milbank Quarterly, commissions projects, and convenes state health policy decision makers on issues they identify as important to population health.
Heidi L. Allen
Bill J. Wright
Back to The Milbank Quarterly
Context: The Affordable Care Act provides new Medicaid coverage to an estimated 12 million low-income adults. Barriers to access or quality could hamper the program’s success. One of these barriers might be the stigma associated with Medicaid or poverty.
Methods: Our mixed-methods study involved 574 low-income adults and included data from an in-person survey and follow-up interviews. Our analysis of the interviews showed that many participants who were on Medicaid or uninsured described a perception or fear of being treated poorly in the health care setting. We defined this experience as stigma and merged our qualitative interviews coded for stigma with our quantitative survey data to see whether stigma was related to other sociodemographic characteristics. We also examined whether stigma was associated with access to care, quality of care, and self-reported health.
Findings: We were unable to identify other sociodemographic characteristics associated with stigma in this low-income sample. The qualitative interviews suggested that stigma was most often the result of a provider-patient interaction that felt demeaning, rather than an internalized sense of shame related to receiving public insurance or charity care. An experience of stigma was associated with unmet health needs, poorer perceptions of quality of care, and worse health across several self-reported measures.
Conclusions: Because a stigmatizing experience in the health system might interfere with the delivery of high-quality care to new Medicaid enrollees, further research and policy interventions that target stigma are warranted.
Author(s): Heidi Allen, Bill J. Wright, Kristin Harding, Lauren Broffman
Read on Wiley Online Library
Volume 92, Issue 2 (pages 289–318) DOI: 10.1111/1468-0009.12059 Published in 2014
Get the Latest from the Milbank Memorial Fund
The Milbank Quarterly’s multidisciplinary approach and commitment to applying the best empirical research to practical policymaking offers in-depth assessments of the social, economic, historical, legal, and ethical dimensions of health and health care policy.