Your Source for Health Reform

Topic: Health Policy

While a great deal of information is available to help consumers and companies deal with health reform and understand how it will affect them, there is at the same time an effort to understand how well it is meeting its goals, and how it will affect communities and the nation as a whole.

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State of the States: Laying the Foundation for Health Reform

The 2011 State of the States report outlines the significant, wide-ranging efforts undertaken by states in 2010 in spite of major budget challenges and rising demand for public health care programs. The State Coverage Initiatives is a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Designing an Exchange: A Toolkit for State Policymakers

The National Academy of Social Insurance’s 45-page “toolkit” from January 2011 was intended to help states makes decisions in developing the health insurance exchanges. The NASI paper builds on model legislation created by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and offers additions and alternatives to the NAIC’s proposed act.

The “Dual Eligible” Opportunity: Improving Care and Reducing Costs

A December 2010 report by the Center for American Progress and Community Catalyst on financing and delivering care to individuals eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

New Funds to Improve Health Care in Your State

This February 2011 fact sheet from Community Catalyst describes the new opportunities the Affordable Care Act provides to help states balance their budget and stimulate their economy in difficult economic times. The act created a number of grant and demonstration programs that can save state money or bring addition federal dollars for health system improvements, including some new programs available in 2011 and 2012.

State Strategies to Improve Quality and Efficiency: Making the Most of Opportunities in National Health Reform

This report by the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) examines specific Affordable Care Act provisions that support state system improvement goals and profiles efforts in 10 states: Colorado, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. The report highlights the opportunities and challenges that federal health care reform will bring and offers suggestions for how state and national leaders can streamline implementation.

Illinois Health Care Reform Implementation Council Initial Report

This March 2011 report provides the Council’s first set of recommendations on ACA implementation. They fall into two categories: issues the state must address immediately, and decisions that can be made after more information is gathered. Foremost among the immediate recommendations is to establish a health insurance exchange for Illinois, governed by a quasi-governmental authority.

Materials and Webcasts from Health Action 2011

Health Action is Families USA’s annual conference on health care policy and advocacy.

How the ACA Will Strengthen Primary Care and Benefit Patients, Providers, and Payers

The United States has undervalued and underinvested in primary care for decades. This January 2012 brief by the Commonwealth Fund describes how the Affordable Care Act will begin to address the neglect of America’s primary care system and, wherever possible, estimates the potential impact these efforts will have on the primary care system.

Progress Made with Illinois Medicaid Reforms, But Policy Concerns Remain

This brief from the Shriver Center on Illinois’ Medicaid reform law, signed January 25, 2011, describes how the new law makes progress in necessary areas, especially in implementing national health reform, but may not be best policy in others, especially the changes to All Kids, which narrow eligibility and increase red tape.

Without Reform Past High Premiums Will Be the Future

This January 2011 HHS report from the Kaiser Family Foundation demonstrates that without reform health insurance premiums paid by consumers and employers would be higher in the short and long run. Under the ACA some families can save up to $14,900 a year, and tax credits will save small businesses $6 billion over two years. The full title is “Health Insurance Premiums: Past High Costs Will Become the Present and Future Without Health Reform.”

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