Print Friendly and PDFPrinter Friendly Version

Press release
November 29, 2018

Lawmakers and Health Care Experts Applaud Launch of Families USA’s National Center for Coverage Innovation

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Families USA launched the National Center for Coverage Innovation (NCCI), Thursday, and simultaneously released the initiative’s first policy options report. NCCI is dedicated to developing and implementing innovative approaches to expand and improve health care coverage that can be enacted starting in 2019.

Today’s report, Innovative Options to Cut Health Insurance Costs by Expanding the Circle of Coverage, presents near-term state solutions for lowering insurance costs in the individual market by increasing coverage, especially among young and healthy adults. With exchange enrollment declining nationally, and the number of uninsured children increasing for the first time in years, the report shows how states can reverse these worrisome trends to expand rather than contract the circle of people with high-quality, affordable health insurance.

The following are comments about NCCI and its initial policy options report from a member of Congress and U.S. health care experts:

“The work of providing all Americans with health insurance coverage is far from over,” said Jonathan Gruber, professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Both Families USA and Stan Dorn (Families USA senior fellow and NCCI director) have been leading figures for decades in advocating for innovative yet practical solutions to expanding insurance coverage. Given the political stalemate on these issues at the federal level, state leadership in moving forward on coverage is paramount. This new institute can provide exactly the kind of key creative thinking, technical support, and advocacy that states need as they tackle these vital yet difficult issues."

“We must make sure that our states have the support and resources they need to maintain affordable, accessible health care coverage,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). “Maryland has worked diligently to develop innovative policy solutions to mitigate the harmful impact of President Trump and Congressional Republicans’ attempts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, and resources like this will help other states follow suit. I appreciate the efforts of Families USA, and I will continue working in Congress to move forward with solutions that provide people with affordable coverage and push back against the Trump Administration’s ill-conceived actions against Americans’ health care.” 

“The National Center for Coverage Innovation will make an important contribution to U.S. health care reform by equipping state and federal lawmakers with fresh ideas to reduce the number of uninsured Americans,” said John McDonough, DrPH, MPA, Director, Executive & Continuing Professional Education at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. “We need what this new center offers: creative solutions to break through partisan gridlock to improve lives. This is an exciting new chapter in Families USA’s long and effective history of fighting to improve health and health care for America’s families, and toward a nation where everyone has quality health coverage.”

“Families USA is launching NCCI now to take advantage of new opportunities for bipartisan progress on health care coverage emerging from the mid-term elections,” Frederick Isasi, executive director of Families USA said. “Health care was by far the most important issue on voters’ minds, and a divided government gives leaders from both parties an incentive to prove they can get things done by working across party lines. As elected officials take their places in Washington, DC and around state capitols, now is the time for a new round of innovation that lowers health care costs while broadening coverage.”

Comments Made During Thursday’s Teleconference:

“The work Families USA does is very important and Stan Dorn (Director of NCCI) has been instrumental to the work we are doing in Maryland,” said Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk, Maryland State Delegate. “He has provided the background research and expertise to bring support from both sides of the aisle for people to feel comfortable in mandating a lot these (health care) policies.” Del. Peña-Melnyk also praised Families USA for helping her to craft a bill the imposes a state requirement for individuals to obtain insurance, but lets the uninsured turn the ACA’s penalties into down payments they can use to buy health insurance. . The program is projected to cover more than 80,000 uninsured Maryland residents. “Maryland is leading in health care and we couldn’t do it without our partnership with Families USA,” Del. Peña-Melnyk added.

“For decades, the team at Families USA has offered a wide range of expertise and provides timely analysis of how federal and state policies will impact consumers and patients,” said Colin Baillio, Director of Policy and Communications at Health Action New Mexico. “Over the past few years we have had countless discussions with Families USA about state-level activity around health coverage. That’s why we are excited to see the National Center for Coverage Innovation focusing its energy around this space on health coverage to improve the lives and financial security of people in the United States.”

“I think the new center is important because you are focused on the now,” said Mila Kofman, Executive Director of the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority. “The people I serve need help now. The big policy debate on Medicare for all may or may not lead to broad structural and system changes. If it does, it certainly won’t help people now. So, I appreciate NCCI and its focus on what can be done by states and the District of Columbia to improve affordable and stable markets that have quality health coverage now for people who need it now.”

NCCI is distinguished from other health policy initiatives by its emphasis on incremental reforms that tangibly benefit people’s lives in the near term. It is pursuing a two-track national strategy: advocating vigorously for bipartisan initiatives that may have a reasonable chance of near-term adoption and laying the foundation for larger-scale change farther down the road.

Starting with the release of today’s report on state options for reducing health care costs, NCCI seeks to reinvigorate debate by exploring fresh and feasible solutions that can gain traction in ever-changing state and national health policy environments. Innovative Options to Cut Health Insurance Costs by Expanding the Circle of Coverage illustrates the potential offered by several promising state coverage innovations. It details seven strategies states could implement to manage the individual health insurance market intelligently, making it easier for consumers to navigate and giving insurers powerful incentives to keep premiums low.

NCCI is supported by Families USA’s 37-year successful track record leading major federal battles to extend and then defend health coverage gains at the national, state and community levels. To learn more, visit the NCCI website or contact Families USA Senior Fellow Stan Dorn at ncci@familiesusa.org.

 

-30-