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.
Nurse practitioners can help meet the growing need for primary care, if state and federal policy-makers remove barriers that limit their ability to provide, and get paid for, a wider range of preventive services and acute care.
States are allowed under the Affordable Care Act to customize their own health insurance plans to meet a required 10 categories of “essential health benefits.” While states like the flexible approach, patient advocates prefer a national standard.
A proposal to limit the ballooning costs of Medicaid would put a cap on the amount of federal spending per beneficiary. Critics contend that a per capita cap would shift costs to the states and thereby limit access to care.
To spur more consumer choice in the insurance market, the Affordable Care Act created the Multi-State Plan Program to certify health insurance issuers to offer at least two plans in every state insurance exchange.
The Affordable Care Act's consumer operated and oriented plans, CO-OPs, are supposed to increase competition in the health insurance market. However, they face major challenges as they prepare for open enrollment in October, 2013.
People actively involved in their health and health care tend to have better outcomes—and, some evidence suggests, lower costs. As a result, many public and private health care organizations are employing strategies to better engage patients.
Medicare's per capita payments to physicians for patient services has been exceeding federal budget guidelines, but Congress has postponed a reduction in physician fees in recent years. Lawmakers are looking for a permanent solution to the problem.
More than a dozen states have chosen to forgo developing their own state-based health insurance exchanges in favor of a federal plan.
Eliminating waste in the health care system has become a major focal point in the effort to reduce health care costs. Waste has been broadly defined to many areas: unnecessary services, treatment of avoidable injuries and more.
The Affordable Care Act provides a third option, the Basic Health Program, for individuals who make too much to qualify for Medicaid and too little to purchase private health insurance through exchanges.
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