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Medicaid’s Role in Addressing Social Determinants of Health

This brief reviews the role that social and economic factors, such as housing, healthy food, and income play in a “whole person” approach to health care, especially among Medicaid’s low-income enrollees. Often referred to as “social determinants of health” (SDOH), these factors can drive as much as 80 percent of health outcomes. States have a significant opportunity to cover some nonmedical services that directly impact health, as well as to connect people to housing and other social services not covered by Medicaid.

This brief is one in a series of seven on key Medicaid issues for state policymakers. The series is designed to assist new state leaders in understanding the Medicaid program and their role in using it to improve the health of their states’ residents and communities.

#1: Priority Medicaid Issues for New State Officials

#2: Medicaid: The Basics

#3: Medicaid’s Impact on Health Care Access, Outcomes and State Economies

#4: Medicaid’s Role in Children’s Health

#5: Medicaid’s Role in Addressing Social Determinants of Health

#6: Medicaid’s Role in Fighting the Opioid Epidemic

#7: Medicaid Managed Care: Increasing Expectations and Accountability



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