Now Viewing: Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Big East Leads Going into March Madness

Mar 26, 2014, 8:57 AM, Posted by Katherine Hempstead

Because every state has approached health reform differently, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides us with a unique opportunity to observe federalism in action. We now have 51 unique environments in which to assess the implementation of health reform.

Given the magnitude of the policy intervention, this variation provokes great interest in understanding the state’s role in health reform, and in disentangling policy and governance factors from other state characteristics.

A new report from the University of Pennsylvania’s Leonard Davis Institute looks at Marketplace enrollment and state exchange characteristics, and shows that states that created their own exchange have enrolled a higher percent of their eligible population in Marketplace plans than states that had the federal government partly or completely manage their exchange.

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Getting Ready for the Oscars: Three Things that the Movie “Gravity” Has in Common with Health Insurance Exchanges

Feb 18, 2014, 10:32 AM, Posted by Susan Dentzer

Sandra Bullock in "Gravity"

The Academy Awards are just a few short weeks away, much as is the end of this year’s open enrollment period for the health insurance exchanges. We health policy geeks who also love movies can now give out our own award—for the film that most closely resembles the rollout of the marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act.

As far as I’m concerned, there’s only one real candidate: “Gravity,” the science-fiction space drama directed by Mexican-born Alfonso Cuaron and starring the actors Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.

The film wins because its big themes are the same ones reflected in the experience of the exchanges: the omnipresence of Murphy’s Law and human perseverance overcoming calamity. What’s more, gravity—the real star of “Gravity”—is a universal force that can’t be overcome (and is one of the few scientific aspects of the movie that the critics agree the filmmakers got right). Is it too much to see a parallel to the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansion, which is inching forward despite the formidable odds stacked against it?

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Engaging Communities of Faith to Help Americans Gain Health Insurance

Nov 13, 2013, 2:46 PM, Posted by John R. Lumpkin

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With the opening of health marketplaces and the Affordable Care Act’s partial expansion of Medicaid, our nation has an opportunity to substantially expand health insurance coverage for all Americans, and ultimately, to significantly reduce racial disparities in access to affordable coverage.

But to achieve that goal, communities of color must attain robust enrollment gains. That’s why RWJF is working with religious leaders and their congregations to help make sure that all who are eligible enroll.

The Problem

According to United States Census data for 2012, approximately 48 million Americans are uninsured. It is a problem that cuts across all racial and ethnic groups, but is most acute in two, resulting in 19 percent of African Americans and more than 29 percent of Hispanics living without health insurance.

In 2009, the Institute of Medicine documented what many suspected: The uninsured are much less likely to obtain preventive care; get timely diagnoses for illnesses, including cancer; receive treatments for chronic illnesses such as diabetes and asthma; and take prescription medications as recommended by physicians.

Beyond the health consequences of uninsurance, there are steep costs for our economy. We all pay the bill for indirect fiscal burdens associated with the uninsured—including illness and injury, decreased workforce productivity, developmental and educational losses among children, and shorter life spans, costing the U.S. economy between $100 and $200 billion each year.

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A Giant Step Toward a Culture of Health

Oct 1, 2013, 12:15 AM, Posted by Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA

More than 48 million Americans live without health insurance coverage. They are people we all know. They are our neighbors, friends, and family members. Some of them have been my patients. For years, they’ve been forced to make tough choices between getting the medical care they need and paying the rent. They’ve gone without preventive care, missed annual check ups, and skipped medications.

For more than 40 years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has been working to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable, stable health insurance coverage. Now, thanks to the work of so many committed organizations and individuals, we have an opportunity to come closer than ever to achieving this goal.

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ABCs of the ACA: Bill and Barack Explain it all for You

Sep 27, 2013, 11:21 AM, Posted by Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MPH Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MPH

RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey took part in a panel discussion at Tuesday's Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York, and that was quite an honor. But, she writes in a recent blog post on the professional social networking site LinkedIn, the highlight of the day was what happened after the panel discussion: a presentation by presidents No. 42 and 44—Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. The two leaders delivered a clear explanation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and its implications for the future of the country.

And what they explained, Lavizzo-Mourey adds, was incredibly helpful, as the two presidents cut through all the background noise surrounding this clearly polarizing issue.

Health care spending is a drag on the economy, and the two presidents drove home that point. All of that spending has a measurable impact on everyday economic life, Lavizzo-Mourey says, affecting even the cost of a new car. For every new car built by America's iconic auto makers, Ford and General Motors, she writes, you can add to the price tag $2,000 in hidden health care costs. Lavizzo-Mourey concludes: "It is critical for our nation's future economic wellbeing that we fix health care."

The law in its current incarnation probably isn't perfect, Lavizzo-Mourey admits, but it's here, and we'll learn how to make it better. "The ACA is one of the most important pieces of legislation to come out of Congress in a generation," Lavizzo-Mourey writes, "and if history is a guide we know the law will be further refined and improved once its impact can be discerned."

That said, she adds: "I’m looking forward to going back to the Clinton Global Initiative a few years from now to talk about the good we can do for people with the money we once spent on health care."

PBS NewsHour videotaped the exchange. It's available below. Lavizzo-Mourey recommends you watch it. And you can read the transcript here on Politico.

President Obama and President Clinton Talk Health Care Reform