On May 8, Carmina Bernardo, a DPH student in the Health Policy and Management track, successfully defended her dissertation, “The Social Construction of Deservedness in Medicaid Eligibility Design: A Qualitative Content Analysis of State Policy Responses to the Affordable Care Act.” Her dissertation committee was chaired by Dr. Betsy Eastwood, with Drs. Chris Palmedo and Alice Sardell serving as committee members.
Dr. Bernardo’s research examined how social constructions of who “deserves” Medicaid impacted its eligibility design in six states soon after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law.
“To what extent does the current public health crisis affect the debates and decisions regarding Medicaid?” Bernardo asked. “Millions and millions of people across the country have become unemployed, which also means they lost access to their job-based health insurance. In states that have not expanded Medicaid eligibility since the ACA was enacted, we have started to see growing calls for expansion. In the midst of a global pandemic, aren’t we all deserving now?”