by Diane Rowland and Adele Shartzer
As the 2008 presidential election year opened, health care reform ranked just below Iraq as a public priority. Filling the gaps in coverage that leave millions uninsured, constraining rising health care costs, and improving the quality of care are the goals of reform efforts. In 2006, 47 million Americans lacked health insurance coverage. This article reviews the role of public programs as building blocks for coverage of the diverse group of people that are uninsured.