Health Affairs/RWJF Health Policy Brief Series

Highlighting key issues in health reform.

Health policy discussions in Congress encapsulate dozens of complex issues, but this series of health policy briefs from Health Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation can help make following the debate easier. These briefs provide clear, accessible overviews of timely and important health policy topics. The briefs are geared to policy-makers, congressional staffers, and others who need short, jargon-free explanations of health policy basics.

The briefs include competing arguments from various sides of a policy proposal and the relevant research supporting each perspective. Color maps and charts help tell the policy story at a glance, and often show how individual states are affected.



Latest Briefs


The Relative Contribution of Multiple Determinants to Health Outcomes

August 21, 2014

Five major categories of health determinants include genetics, behavior, social circumstances, environmental and physical influences, and medical care. Learn why Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is investing more in non-clinical prevention.



August 11, 2014

There has been a great investment and considerable growth in electronic health records, but a big problem remains: it’s still too difficult to share information across systems for cost-effective, patient-centered care in the United States.


Site-Neutral Payments

July 24, 2014

This brief explains the origins of these differential payments and the debate over approaches that have been proposed for developing so-called site-neutral payments.

E-Cigarettes and Federal Regulation: Update

July 18, 2014

This brief updates the July 10, 2014 brief on e-cigarettes and federal regulation and reflects the recent announcement of a merger between Reynolds American and Lorillard and its impact on the market.


E-Cigarettes and Federal Regulation

July 10, 2014

E-cigarettes, virtually non-existent 10 years ago, have skyrocketed in popularity, but are currently unregulated. The FDA has started its own investigation in this hotly debated issue as it prepares regulation guidelines.


Risk Corridors

June 26, 2014

The risk corridor program has proven to be one of the more controversial aspects of the ACA with critics, including a number of Republicans in Congress, characterizing the program as an insurer bailout.

Transitioning to ICD-10

June 12, 2014

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has indicated that it intends to establish October 1, 2015, as the new ICD-10 implementation date.

The Multi-State Plan Program (2014 Update)

May 29, 2014

This policy brief updates an earlier brief from April 2013 on the multi-state plan program based on the experience of the program during the first open enrollment period.

Breakthrough Therapy Designation

May 15, 2014

The Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA), signed into law on July 9, 2012, introduced several reforms that are intended to streamline the FDA's premarketing approval process for drugs and devices.

Regulating Compounding Pharmacies

May 1, 2014

Outraged over a 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak traced back to a Framingham, Mass.–based drug compounder that left 64 people dead and more than 700 sickened, Congress passed the Compounding Quality Act in November 27, 2013.

See all

Learn How We Work Toward

Health Policy

Most Requested