Sara Rosenbaum

Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy and Founding Chair of the Department of Health Policy, The George Washington University

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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

In the News

Quoted by Brad Heath and Veronica G. Cardenas in "Layoffs and Food Lines: How the Pandemic Slams the Poorest U.S. Workers," Reuters, March 25, 2020.
Quoted by Brad Heath and Veronica G. Cardenas in "Layoffs and Food Lines: How the Pandemic Slams the Poorest U.S. Workers," Reuters, March 25, 2020.
Quoted by Noam N. Levey in "Under Pressure, Trump Administration Opens Door to Mobilizing Medicaid to Fight Coronavirus," Los Angeles Times, March 13, 2020.
Quoted by Ben Conarck in "She Had Medicaid Insurance. After a Car Wreck, a Miami Hospital Billed Her for $20,000," Miami Herald, January 17, 2020.
Quoted by Ben Conrack in "She had Medicaid Insurance. After a Car Wreck, a Miami Hospital Billed her for $20,000," The Miami Herald , January 17, 2020.
Opinion: "Reproductive Health: Assessing the Damage," Sara Rosenbaum, The Milbank Quarterly, April 12, 2019.
Opinion: "Inside the Trump Administration’s Proposed Medicaid Managed Care Rule," Sara Rosenbaum, Health Affairs, December 5, 2018.
Quoted by Rose Meltzer in "CMS Revives Kentucky Waiver Debate, Puzzling Legal Experts," FierceHealthcare, July 20, 2018.
Research discussed by Amy Goldstein, in "Democrats Say Kavanaugh Could Help End Obamacare, but Court Likely to Deal with Narrower Issues," The Washington Post, July 12, 2018.
Quoted by Robert Pear in "A Fatal Flaw as Trump Tries to Remake Health Care: Shortcuts," The New York Times, July 7, 2018.
Research discussed by Caitlin Owens, in "How the Next Supreme Court Justice Could Change Medicaid," Axios, July 3, 2018.
Research discussed by Paige Minemyer, in "Patient Visits to Community Health Centers Soar, Report Finds," FierceHealthcare, June 18, 2018.
Quoted by Phil Galewitz in "Verma Unveils State Medicaid Scorecard But Refuses To Judge Efforts," The Washington Post, June 5, 2018.
Quoted by Alice Ollstein in "Republicans’ Double Talk on Exempting Rural Whites from Medicaid Rules," Talking Points Memo, May 16, 2018.
Quoted by Alice Ollstein in "Trump Admin Poised to Give Rural Whites a Carve-Out on Medicaid Work Rules," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2018.
Quoted by in "Michigan's Medicaid Plan Has Racist Effects," The Journal Times, May 9, 2018.
Quoted by Gabrielle Levy in "Work Requirements Give Republicans Cover to Expand Medicaid," U.S. News & World Report, April 23, 2018.
Quoted by Alex Ruoff in "The Reality of Trump’s Work Requirement Order," Bloomberg BNA, April 12, 2018.
Quoted by Susannah Luthi in "Medicaid Work Requirements Violate Program's Intent, Scholars Say," Modern Healthcare, April 9, 2018.
Quoted by Sara E. Teller in "Kentucky Medicaid Requirements are being Challenged by Class Action," Legal Reader, February 7, 2018.
Quoted by Harris Meyer in "Legal Clash over Medicaid Premiums Could Derail GOP Rollback of Expansion," Modern Healthcare, February 3, 2018.
Quoted by Mattie Quinn in "Are Work Requirements for Medicaid Doomed?," Governing, January 25, 2018.
Quoted by Brendan Pierson in "Medicaid Work Rules Face Tough Legal Challenges, Experts Say," Reuters, January 25, 2018.
Quoted by Dylan Scott in "The Trump Administration’s Plan for Medicaid Work Requirements, Explained," Vox, January 12, 2018.
Quoted by in "New Rules May Make Getting and Staying on Medicaid More Difficult," All Things Considered, January 12, 2018.
Quoted by Dylan Scott in "The Health Care Debate Will Never be the Same after 2017," Vox, December 29, 2017.
Quoted by NJ Spotlight in "Rising Healthcare Costs among Challenges for Murphy Administration," New Jersey Spotlight, December 27, 2017.
Quoted by Robert Pear in "Years of Attack Leave Obamacare a More Government-Focused Health Law," New York Times, December 26, 2017.
Quoted by Shefali Luthra in "Massachusetts Grabs Spotlight by Proposing New Twist on Medicaid Drug Coverage," Kaiser Health News, November 21, 2017.
Quoted by Dylan Scott in "How Medicaid Became the Most Important Battleground in American Health Care," Vox, November 10, 2017.
Opinion: "Weakening Medicaid From Within," Sara Rosenbaum, The American Prospect, October 19, 2017.
Quoted by Carole Levine in "Are Children at Risk as CHIP Gets Lost in the Healthcare Kerfuffle?," Nonprofit Quarterly, September 29, 2017.
Quoted by Mark Miller in "Latest Republican Assault on Healthcare Would Punish Older Americans," Reuters, September 20, 2017.
Quoted by Perry Bacon Jr. in "Republicans Really Could Repeal Obamacare This Time," FiveThirtyEight, September 18, 2017.
Quoted by Jessie Hellmann in "Planned Parenthood Funding Faces New Threat from Texas," The Hill, July 9, 2017.
Guest on KRVS Public Radio, June 30, 2017.
Quoted by Danielle Paquette in "The GOP Health-Care Plan Threatens to Kill Jobs Nationwide," The Washington Post, June 27, 2017.
Quoted by Margot Sanger-Katz in "G.O.P. Health Plan is Really a Rollback of Medicaid," New York Times, June 20, 2017.
Interviewed in "Worrying about Your Exchange Coverage? ObamaCare Repeal Would Take a While," National Public Radio, November 11, 2016.
Quoted by Noreen O'Donnell and Kate Guarino in "U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Abortion Rules," NBC, June 28, 2016.
Opinion: "The Affordable Care Act and the Courts - Again," Sara Rosenbaum, The Milbank Quarterly, May 18, 2016.
Quoted by Virgil Dickson in "New CMS Report Fails to Please Critics of Medicaid Waiver Process," Modern Healthcare, October 19, 2015.
Quoted by Samantha Lachman in "Planned Parenthood Probes Find No Wrongdoing, but the Damage Has Been Done," Huffington Post, October 9, 2015.
Quoted by Gail Collins in "The Fight for Unplanned Parenthood," New York Times, September 18, 2015.
Quoted by Jackie Calmes in "Louisiana Lays Bare Difficulty in Push to Cut Planned Parenthood Funding," New York Times, September 1, 2015.
Quoted by Kevin Litten in "Bobby Jindal's Claim That Planned Parenthood Can't Sue May Not Hold Up, Experts Say," Times-Picayune, August 28, 2015.
Quoted by Robert Pear in "As Medicare and Medicaid Turn 50, Use of Private Health Plans Surges," New York Times, July 29, 2015.
Quoted by Nancy Szokan in "Medicare and Medicaid Mark a Milestone," The Washington Post, July 20, 2015.
Quoted by Robert Gebelhoff in "Value of Tax Breaks for Nonprofit Hospitals Doubled in a Decade," The Washington Post, June 17, 2015.
Quoted by Sydney Lupkin in "Why the Vaccine Debate is Unlikely to Land in the Courtroom," ABC, February 6, 2015.
Quoted by Tina Reed in "GW Experts Say More Employers Need to Open Hiring Opportunities for People with Autism," Washington Business Journal, November 26, 2014.
Quoted by Sahil Kapur in "Hobby Lobby Declares Open Season For Birth Control Lawsuits," Talking Points Memo, September 12, 2014.
Quoted by Sahil Kapur in "Science was Irrelevant in Hobby Lobby and That's Congress's Fault," Talking Points Memo, July 10, 2014.
Research discussed by Michael Tomasky, in "Texas: Where Crazy Gets Elected," The Daily Beast, February 26, 2014.
Opinion: "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.
Research discussed by Alex Wayne, in "ObamaCare Insurers May be Forced to Add Medical Providers," Bloomberg News, February 4, 2014.
Quoted by in "ObamaCare 2.0: More Regulation," Politico, January 31, 2014.
Quoted by in "Rate Increase Predictions for ObamaCare are Premature," The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, January 21, 2014.


"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 Peter Shin, Jessica Sharac, 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

"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.
"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.

"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.
"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.