Sara Rosenbaum

Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy and Founding Chair of the Department of Health Policy, George Washington University
Areas of Expertise:
  • Antipoverty Policy
  • Health Care Delivery
  • Health Care Reform
  • Medicare & Medicaid
  • Reproductive Health
  • Children & Families
  • Race & Ethnicity
  • Women

Connect with Sara

About Sara

Rosenbaum has devoted her professional career to issues of health justice for populations who are medically underserved as a result of race, poverty, disability, or cultural exclusion. She has emphasized public engagement as a core element of her professional life, providing public service to six Presidential Administrations and fifteen Congresses since 1977. Professor Rosenbaum is best known for her work on the expansion of Medicaid, the expansion of community health centers, patients' rights in managed care, civil rights and health care, and national health reform. Between 1993 and 1994, she worked for President Clinton, directing the drafting of the Health Security Act and designing the Vaccines for Children program, which offers near-universal coverage of vaccines for low income and medically underserved children. She also regularly advises state governments on health policy matters and has served as a testifying expert in legal actions involving the rights of children under Medicaid. She has received national awards for her work, serves on governmental advisory committees, private organizational and foundation boards, and is a past Chair of AcademyHealth. She is a member of the Institute of Medicine and the CDC Director’s Advisory Committee; she also serves as a Commissioner on the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission, which advises Congress on federal Medicaid policy.


How Comprehensive Payment Policies for Medicaid Can Help Patients Gain Access to Long-Acting Contraception

    Veronica X. Vela , Elizabeth W. Patton ,
  • Peter Shin
  • Susan F. Wood ,



"Patient Experiences with Family Planning in Community Health Centers," (with Peter Shin, Susan F. Wood, Tishra Beeson, Debora Goetz Goldberg, Katherine H. Mead, Aliyah Abdul-Wakil, Anna Rui, Bhakthi Sahgal, Maya Shimony, and Hallie Stevens), George Washington University, June 2015.

Addresses gaps in the evidence base in order to explore patients’ experiences using community health centers for their family planning and reproductive health care, examine factors that either hinder or facilitate receipt of family planning services, from the patient’s perspective, and make recommendations regarding how health centers can improve their family planning services.

"Using Payment Reform Strategies to Strengthen Family Planning Services at Community Health Centers," (with Sara Rosenbaum, Peter Shin, and Susan F. Wood), January 2015.

Argues that coupling tools such as CMS’s Innovation Accelerator Program with up-­­front investments from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), state Medicaid agencies and health centers are ideally positioned to work together to improve the scope and quality of family planning services for health center patients at all points along the health care continuum, beginning with preconception care and continuing throughout the childbearing cycle. 

"Implications of the 2014 Quality Family Planning Services Guidelines Issued by the CDC and the Office of Population Affairs," (with Peter Shin, Susan Wood, Merle Cunningham, and Tishra Beeson), George Washington University, July 2014.

Argues that the HRSA’s quality improvement strategy should include the development of actionable performance measures, training and technical assistance, special supplemental grant awards to support quality improvement efforts and expansion of family planning services, and collaboration with CMS to identify purchasing strategies that can promote the goals of the guidelines, as translated and made actionable in a health center setting

"Health Centers and Family Planning: Results of a Nationwide Study," (with Peter Shin, Susan Wood, Debora Goldberg, Tishra Beeson, Brian Bruen, Kay Johnson, Holly Mead, Julie Lewis, Shavon Artis, Katherine Hayes, Merle Cunningham, and Xiaoxiao Lu), George Washington University, March 2013.

Examines how health centers fulfill their family planning mission.

"Medicaid and Community Health Centers: The Relationship between Coverage for Adults and Primary Care Capacity in Medically Underserved Communities," (with Peter Shin, Rachel Arguello, and Jennifer Tolbert), Kaiser Family Foundation and the RCHN Community Health Foundation, February 29, 2012.
Compares the strength of health centers in states that have expanded Medicaid coverage for adults to health centers in states with more limited Medicaid coverage for adults in order to better understand how Medicaid influences health center practice. In sum, broader Medicaid eligibility for adults appears to be associated with an enhanced ability of health centers to invest in capacity-building activities to meet the needs of patients and communities.
Law and the American Health Care System, Second Edition (with David M. Frankford, Sylvia A. Law, and Rand E. Rosenblatt) (Foundation Press, 2012).
Examines the complex and dynamic relationship between law and the American health care system, covering health care access and non-discrimination, the regulation of health insurance and the impact of national health reform, the interaction between law and the challenge of health care quality, and the role of law in regulating the health care marketplace.
"Scope of Family Planning Services Available in Community Health Centers" (with Susan Wood, Tishra Beeson, Brian Bruen, Debora Goetz-Goldberg, Holly Mead, and Peter Shin). Contraception 89, no. 2 (2013): 85-90.
Reports on the scope of services provided at Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) – a major and growing source of primary care for low-income women of reproductive age – including on-site provision, prescription-only and referral options for a range of contraceptive methods. Only limited knowledge exists on the scope of family planning care these centers provide and the mechanisms for delivery of these essential reproductive health services, including family planning.
"Assessing the Potential Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Uninsured Community Health Center Patients: A Nationwide and State-by-State Analysis," (with Peter Shin and Jessica Sharac), Geiger Gibson/RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative and George Washington University, September 30, 2013.
Compares the impact of health reform by Medicaid expansion on community health centers and patients. The researchers estimate that more than 5 million health center patients would have gained coverage had all states participated in a sweeping Medicaid expansion.

In the News

Sara Rosenbaum quoted in Phil Galewitz, "Verma Unveils State Medicaid Scorecard But Refuses To Judge Efforts" The Washington Post, June 5, 2018.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on Medicaid work requirement exemptions in Laura Clawson, "Republicans Share Deeply Twisted Logic to Justify Their Medicaid Work Requirements" Alternet, May 17, 2018.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on Medicaid work requirement exemptions in Alice Ollstein, "Republicans’ Double Talk on Exempting Rural Whites from Medicaid Rules" Talking Points Memo, May 16, 2018.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on Medicaid work requirement exemptions in Alice Ollstein, "Trump Admin Poised to Give Rural Whites a Carve-Out on Medicaid Work Rules" Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2018.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on medicaid work requirements, "Michigan's Medicaid Plan Has Racist Effects" The Journal Times, May 9, 2018.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on Medicaid work requirements in Dylan Scott, "How Medicaid Work Requirements Can Exempt Rural Whites but Not Urban Blacks" Vox, May 3, 2018.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on Virginia and Medicaid expansion in Gabrielle Levy, "Work Requirements Give Republicans Cover to Expand Medicaid" U.S. News & World Report, April 23, 2018.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on work requirements for Medicaid in Alex Ruoff, "The Reality of Trump’s Work Requirement Order" Bloomberg BNA, April 12, 2018.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on Medicaid work requirements in Susannah Luthi, "Medicaid Work Requirements Violate Program's Intent, Scholars Say" Modern Healthcare, April 9, 2018.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted in Kat Chow, "In a Border Region Where Immigrants are Wary, a Health Center Travels to Its Patients" NPR, April 6, 2018.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted in Mattie Quinn, "Are Work Requirements for Medicaid Doomed?" Governing, January 25, 2018.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted in Sarah Kliff, "Congress has Quietly Created a New Health Care Crisis for 26 Million Americans" Vox, February 5, 2018.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted in Sarah Kliff, "Congress has Quietly Created a New Health Care Crisis for 26 Million Americans" Vox, February 5, 2018.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted in Sarah Kliff, "Congress has Quietly Created a New Health Care Crisis for 26 Million Americans" Vox, February 5, 2018.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted in Sara E. Teller, "Kentucky Medicaid Requirements are being Challenged by Class Action" Legal Reader, February 7, 2018.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted in Harris Meyer, "Legal Clash over Medicaid Premiums Could Derail GOP Rollback of Expansion" Modern Healthcare, February 3, 2018.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted in Mark Miller, "Latest Republican Assault on Healthcare Would Punish Older Americans" Reuters, September 20, 2017.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted in Brendan Pierson, "Medicaid Work Rules Face Tough Legal Challenges, Experts Say" Reuters, January 25, 2018.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted in NJ Spotlight, "Rising Healthcare Costs among Challenges for Murphy Administration" New Jersey Spotlight, December 27, 2017.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted in Dylan Scott, "The Trump Administration’s Plan for Medicaid Work Requirements, Explained" Vox, January 12, 2018.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted , "New Rules May Make Getting and Staying on Medicaid More Difficult" All Things Considered, January 12, 2018.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted in Diane Wilson, "Trump's Ill-Intended Attack on Medicaid" Newburgh Gazette, January 17, 2018.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on a Medicaid overhaul in Dylan Scott, "The Health Care Debate Will Never be the Same after 2017" Vox, December 29, 2017.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on Medicaid enrollment in Robert Pear, "Years of Attack Leave Obamacare a More Government-Focused Health Law" New York Times, December 26, 2017.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on Medicaid expansion in Dylan Scott, "How Medicaid Became the Most Important Battleground in American Health Care" Vox, November 10, 2017.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on making Medicaid more efficient in Shefali Luthra, "Massachusetts Grabs Spotlight by Proposing New Twist on Medicaid Drug Coverage" Kaiser Health News, November 21, 2017.
"Weakening Medicaid From Within," Sara Rosenbaum, The American Prospect, October 19, 2017.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on the impact of letting the Children’s Health Insurance Program lapse in Carole Levine, "Are Children at Risk as CHIP Gets Lost in the Healthcare Kerfuffle?" Nonprofit Quarterly, September 29, 2017.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted in Perry Bacon Jr., "Republicans Really Could Repeal Obamacare This Time" FiveThirtyEight, September 18, 2017.
Guest to discuss the Senate health care bill on KRVS Public Radio, Sara Rosenbaum, June 30, 2017.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on the growth of health care employment due to Medicaid in Danielle Paquette, "The GOP Health-Care Plan Threatens to Kill Jobs Nationwide" The Washington Post, June 27, 2017.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on addressing capacity issues if Planned Parenthood centers were to close in Jessie Hellmann, "Planned Parenthood Funding Faces New Threat from Texas" The Hill, July 9, 2017.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on Medicaid cuts in Margot Sanger-Katz, "G.O.P. Health Plan is Really a Rollback of Medicaid" New York Times, June 20, 2017.
Interview on repealing ObamaCareSara Rosenbaum, National Public Radio, November 11, 2016.
Guest to discuss adjustments to Obamacare on KQED News, Sara Rosenbaum, October 20, 2016.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on policies restricting abortion access in Noreen O'Donnell and Kate Guarino, "U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Abortion Rules" NBC, June 28, 2016.
"The Affordable Care Act and the Courts - Again," Sara Rosenbaum, The Milbank Quarterly, May 18, 2016.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on Medicaid expansion in Virgil Dickson, "New CMS Report Fails to Please Critics of Medicaid Waiver Process" Modern Healthcare, October 19, 2015.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on the fight to defund Planned Parenthood in Samantha Lachman, "Planned Parenthood Probes Find No Wrongdoing, but the Damage Has Been Done" Huffington Post, October 9, 2015.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on blocked Planned Parenthood grants in Gail Collins, "The Fight for Unplanned Parenthood" New York Times, September 18, 2015.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on denying Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood in Jackie Calmes, "Louisiana Lays Bare Difficulty in Push to Cut Planned Parenthood Funding" New York Times, September 1, 2015.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on Planned Parenthood lawsuit in Kevin Litten, "Bobby Jindal's Claim That Planned Parenthood Can't Sue May Not Hold Up, Experts Say" Times-Picayune, August 28, 2015.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on legal Medicaid funding in David G. Savage, "States May Not Have Legal Right to Cut Medicaid to Planned Parenthood Clinics" Naples Daily News, August 24, 2015.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on the invaluable services of Medicaid plans in Robert Pear, "As Medicare and Medicaid Turn 50, Use of Private Health Plans Surges" New York Times, July 29, 2015.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on defunding Planned Parenthood in Sarah Zagorski, "If Planned Parenthood Loses Taxpayer Funding, This Map Shows Health Clinics That Will Take Its Place" Life News, August 18, 2015.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on how the courts created the Medicaid entitlement in Nancy Szokan, "Medicare and Medicaid Mark a Milestone" The Washington Post, July 20, 2015.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on hospitals’ uncompensated care in Robert Gebelhoff, "Value of Tax Breaks for Nonprofit Hospitals Doubled in a Decade" The Washington Post, June 17, 2015.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on the consequences of King v. Burwell on Texan consequences to local communities and their citizens in Robert T. Garrett, "Health Insurance of a Million Texans Rides on Ruling" Dallas News, June 12, 2015.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on whether the vaccine debate is a matter of tort litigation or a public health issue in Sydney Lupkin, "Why the Vaccine Debate is Unlikely to Land in the Courtroom" ABC, February 6, 2015.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on hiring people with autism in Tina Reed, "GW Experts Say More Employers Need to Open Hiring Opportunities for People with Autism" Washington Business Journal, November 26, 2014.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on legal attacks on birth control coverage under ObamaCare in Sahil Kapur, "Hobby Lobby Declares Open Season For Birth Control Lawsuits" Talking Points Memo, September 12, 2014.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Sahil Kapur, "Science was Irrelevant in Hobby Lobby and That's Congress's Fault" Talking Points Memo, July 10, 2014.
Sara Rosenbaum's research on Texas' refusal to expand Medicaid (with Jessica Sharac and Peter Shin) discussed in Michael TomaskySara Rosenbaum, "Texas: Where Crazy Gets Elected," The Daily Beast, February 26, 2014.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on assessing youth sign-up rates for insurance, "Rate Increase Predictions for ObamaCare are Premature" The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, January 21, 2014.
Sara Rosenbaum quoted on the future of health care reform, "ObamaCare 2.0: More Regulation" Politico, January 31, 2014.
Sara Rosenbaum's research on the potential effects of health reform on availability of coverage discussed in Alex WayneSara Rosenbaum, "ObamaCare Insurers May be Forced to Add Medical Providers," Bloomberg News, February 4, 2014.
"Encouraging Nonprofit Hospitals to Invest in Community Building: The Role of IRS ‘Safe Harbors’," Sara Rosenbaum (with Amber Rieke and Maureen Byrnes), Health Affairs Blog, February 11, 2014.