Fundamentals Briefing

Understanding Medicare and Medicaid: Fundamentals and Issues for the New Congress
January 23–24, 2003


Nora Super & Jennifer Ryan


This one and one-half day, invitation-only seminar was requested by congressional staff to provide an overview of the fundamentals of the Medicare, Medicaid, and State Children’s Health Insurance programs. The sessions featured experts from the General Accounting Office, Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, Congressional Research Service, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in addition to other public and private entities. Speakers described and explained the basics of the structural and financial underpinnings of Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP, as well as issues likely to be addressed by the new Congress, including the states’ budget crises, gaps in Medicare benefits, and coverage of new technologies and services. A briefing book was also prepared for the seminar, containing links to the sessions’ presentations and handouts as well as to additional reports, Web sites, and other resources.

In 2015, a new version of this series was conducted; please see its briefing book here.

Related Materials

For more on the fundamentals of Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP, see the following Forum publications: "Medicare" (The Basics, January 4, 2016), "The Medicare Drug Benefit (Part D)" (The Basics, January 4, 2016), "Medicaid Eligibility and Benefits" (The Basics, January 5, 2016), "Medicaid Financing" (The Basics, January 5, 2016), and "The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP): The Fundamentals" (Background Paper No. 68, April 23, 2009).

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