Kristin Madison

Document Type



While expanding federal involvement in the health care system, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) preserves states' roles as policy laboratories and private providers' roles as health care delivery laboratories. State-based and provider-based laboratories suffer from many shortcomings, however, as mechanisms to develop, evaluate, and facilitate diffusion of reforms within the health system. This Article argues that the federal government can take steps to address these shortcomings. It first briefly reviews ACA provisions that promote policy and delivery experimentation. It then suggests that by tying funding to policy outcomes, making use of regulatory variation and regulatory menus, and conditioning waivers on systematic evaluation, the federal government could further improve the performance of the nation as a laboratory.