Across the country, there is tremendous momentum to change how health care is delivered and paid for in order to improve quality and to curb costs. These initiatives to transform the health system have the potential to improve care for everyone, and could directly address health disparities. Advocates must actively engage in these reform efforts—both to protect communities of color from harm and to take maximum advantage of opportunities to transform health care delivery to better serve people of color.
Yesterday, President Obama and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Burwell kicked off the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network (Network), a network of cross-sector stakeholders focused on quality and costs in the health care system. The network aims to transform our entire health care system—beyond Medicare and Medicaid—from a system that pays for volume to one that pays for quality and value and that actively engages consumers in their own care. More than 2,800 payers, providers, employers, and consumer groups (including Families USA) have registered to participate in the Network.
Over the past two decades, state-based consumer advocates and health care practitioners have worked together to help low-income people—including those living in communities of color or with chronic medical conditions—gain access to health coverage. As more people gained insurance coverage, consumer advocates and health care providers focused their attention on improving the patient’s experience with the health care system.
One of the most significant and popular features of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the new protection that puts an end to insurance company discrimination against people with pre-existing health conditions. This important ACA protection depends on two other provisions that keep coverage affordable: premium subsidies and the coverage mandate.
February is Children’s Dental Health Month—the perfect time to raise awareness about the importance of oral health and the work that remains to ensure that all children have access to high-quality, affordable dental coverage and care. Congress, state lawmakers, and regulators can make progress on some of the nation’s most pressing children’s dental health issues by following the recommendations we discuss here.
This blog is part of a weekly series—one that analyzes the political, legal, and social issues and ramifications of King v. Burwell, a lawsuit before the Supreme Court that threatens to undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The case challenges the government’s provision of tax credits to help consumers buy health insurance in states where the federal government runs the marketplace. Learn about what’s at stake in King v. Burwell.
The wide spectrum of those who filed briefs proves the enormity of support for the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance in general, and the continued availability of financial help for consumers (premium tax credits) in particular. Here’s a quick look at some of the individuals and groups who filed, along with the constituencies who would suffer if the Supreme Court rules in favor of withdrawing premium tax credits in states with federally facilitated marketplaces.
2:00 p.m.—We at Families USA have had a blast the past three days. Meeting all of you hard-working advocates has been inspiring and energizing for us. Relive Health Action 2015 by checking out our highlights blog and video of our plenary session on Medicaid and CHIP.
Thanks for being a part of our 20th annual gathering in Washington, D.C., hope to see you next year!
5:30 p.m.—We just heard from two leading thinkers in health policy debate some of the most pressing issues related to access to affordable health care in America.
In a wide-ranging discussion that covered everything from Medicaid policy to children’s benefits on the exchanges to the ACA’s subsidies, these two feisty policy wonks hashed out their visions for the future while reflecting on the past year.
5:00 p.m. update—With three weeks until the end of open enrollment, one thing that distinguishes this period from last year’s is the lack of news. Things have been going pretty well.
Kevin Counihan of CMS noted that he’s grateful for the work of everyone at the conference: “This audience represents our salesforce.”
Counihan ran down the improvements CMS made to Healthcare.gov: reduced number of screens required to enroll from 76 down to 16, the site is warmer, fonts are bigger. “We’re learning.“