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.
December 2009 (Volume 87)
Janet M. Coffman
Wade M. Aubry
Harold S. Luft
Edward H. Yelin
Milbank Memorial Fund
Back to The Milbank Quarterly
Context: Legislatures and executive branch agencies in the United States and other nations are increasingly using reviews of the medical literature to inform health policy decisions. To clarify these efforts to give policymakers evidence of medical effectiveness, this article discusses the California Health Benefits Review Program (CHBRP). This program, based at the University of California, analyzes the medical effectiveness of health insurance benefit mandate bills for the California legislature, as well as their impact on cost and public health. Methods: This article is based on the authors’ experience reviewing benefit mandate bills for CHBRP and findings from evaluations of the program. General observations are illustrated with examples from CHBRP’s reports. Information about efforts to incorporate evidence into health policymaking in other states and nations was obtained through a review of published literature. Findings: CHBRP produces reports that California legislators, legislative staff, and other major stakeholders value and use routinely in deliberations about benefit mandate bills. Where available, the program relies on previously published meta-analyses and systematic reviews to streamline the review of the medical literature. Faculty and staff responsible for the medical effectiveness sections of CHBRP’s reports have learned four major lessons over the course of the program’s six-year history: the need to (1) recognize the limitations of the medical literature, (2) anticipate the need to inform legislators about the complexity of evidence, (3) have realistic expectations regarding the impact of medical effectiveness reviews, and (4) understand the consequences of the reactive nature of mandated benefit reviews. Conclusions: CHBRP has demonstrated that it is possible to produce useful reviews of the medical literature within the tight time constraints of the legislative process. The program’s reports have provided state legislators with independent analyses that allow them to move beyond sifting through conflicting information from proponents and opponents to consider difficult policy choices and their implications.
Author(s): Janet M. Coffman; Mi-Kyung Hong; Wade M. Aubry; Harold S. Luft; Edward Yelin
Keywords: evidence-based medicine; health insurance; insurance benefits; mandated benefits
Read on Wiley Online Library
Read on JSTOR
Volume 87, Issue 4 (pages 863–902) DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0009.2009.00582.x Published in 2009
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.