Catalyzing Change: How State Medicaid Agencies Can Lead Health Care to Reduce Harmful Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The Commonwealth Fund
- As climate change worsens, the United States will experience greater strains on its health system, increased threats to community safety, and higher health care costs.
- The health care sector is responsible for about nine percent of harmful carbon emissions in the U.S.
- State Medicaid agencies can implement a wide range of policy tools and other efforts to accelerate action to reduce the climate harm caused by the health system.
Climate change is a top threat to health across the United States. At the same time, the U.S. health system is also a top producer of the harmful greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that raise global temperatures and drive climate change—contrasting with its mission to protect the public’s health.
State Medicaid agencies are well positioned to take a leading role in climate change harm reduction within the health system. This brief presents a broad overview of options that these agencies can explore to reduce harmful GHG production in health care and motivate change within their agency to help safeguard the health of tens of millions of Medicaid beneficiaries. The brief also shares a decision making framework designed to support state agencies as they consider opportunities they can pursue in their own states.