Providing Real Time Information on Health Reform

Assessing federal policy aimed at expanding insurance coverage in the United States

Dates of Project: August 2007 to mid-February 2014. An additional grant runs to April 2015

Description: Since August 2007, the Washington-based Urban Institute has produced “quick strike” reports and briefs on health care reform and the expansion of health coverage in the period before and after passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010. Quick strikes are quick turnaround, high-quality analyses that give policymakers, the media, and the public the “real-time” information to respond to the rapidly evolving health care reform debate.

RWJF “wanted a neutral, analytic voice that could break through the political noise and ensure that the debate over health reform would be productive.”—Andrew Hyman, JD, RWJF Senior Program Officer

Key Results

  • Between 2007 and 2014, the Urban Institute produced over 100 quick strike reports on health reform. The reports and briefs, posted on the websites of RWJF and the Urban Institute, cover a wide range of issues, including:

    • Reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
    • Various legislative options for health reform
    • ACA’s impact on the U.S. economy and on specific consumers groups, such as seniors, young adults and veterans
    • How ACA is being implemented
  • The reports reached a wide audience of policymakers, the media, and the public. Quick strike papers released since January 1, 2011, have each been covered by an average of 17 news outlets, mostly national newspapers or health/policy trade publications.

“The ACA is a massive, complicated bill. After it passed, we did a lot of explaining about what the implications were, dispelling some of the myths about its impact on the economy and different groups, such as employers, the elderly.—Linda Blumberg, PhD, Project Co-Director at Urban Institute

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The individual mandate, requiring someone to buy insurance or pay a fine, affects only 6% of the population