Health Affairs Health Policy Briefs

Short, jargon-free explanations of health policy basics.

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About This Collection

Health Affairs Health Policy Briefs provide clear, accessible overviews of timely and important health policy topics for policymakers, journalists, and others concerned about improving health care in the United States.

They are produced by Health Affairs through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The briefs explore competing arguments made on various sides of a policy proposal and point out wherever possible the relevant research behind each perspective. They are reviewed by distinguished Health Affairs authors and other outside experts.

Latest Briefs


Implementing the Medi­care Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA)

March 27, 2017

A policy brief from Health Affairs and RWJF addresses the implementation of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), signed into law by President Obama in April 2015, with the initial phase of the law having begun on Jan. 1, 2017.


Paid Family and Medical Leave

November 21, 2016

Proponents of mandatory paid family and medical leave argue that it’s long past time that the United States got in step with other wealthy nations.


Medicaid and Permanent Supportive Housing

October 14, 2016

The ACA gave states tools to use in serving the state's homeless adults. Housing is one of the social and economic factors that play a critical role in determining an individual's health.


Tobacco Taxes

September 21, 2016

An increase in tobacco tax must occur in sizable increments to make a significant dent in smoking rates. For cigarettes, that means at least 50 cents per pack but ideally $1–$2 per pack.


Telehealth Parity Laws

August 15, 2016

This Health Affairs health policy brief discusses the ongoing reforms expanding the landscape of telehealth in the health care system, as well as the challenges that remain.