Posts for Affordable Care Act

The ACA Has Boosted Oral Health Access, Now Let’s Keep the Progress Going

As we celebrate the 12th anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it’s worth reflecting on the ways in which this landmark law has advanced oral health equity and the ways in which we can build on this progress moving forward.

Outreach, Enrollment and the Affordable Care Act

Enrollment numbers can be severely impacted if a presidential administration is not supportive of expanding coverage.

The Affordable Care Act is Crucial to Women’s Health

For more than a decade, the ACA has helped to improve the quality of and access to health care for millions of women across the country.

Planning for the End of the Public Health Emergency: Massachusetts Invests in Community Outreach

As we individually reflect and reevaluate at the turn of the year, so too must states in regard to their plans for unwinding the COVID-19 public health emergency and corresponding Medicaid protections.

The Time is Now to Help Medicaid Enrollees Prepare for the End of the Public Health Emergency

Planning for the end of the public health emergency and what it means for people in their states.

Building an Equitable Future for Children and Families: Key Policy Opportunities to Support Children’s Health and Well-Being

Congress must act now to make ARPA’s forward-minded solutions permanent and substantially decrease racial, social, and economic inequities.

Life After COVID: CMS Guidance Addresses Advocate Concerns About the End of the Public Health Emergency

The official end of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) remains unclear, but some states are already either planning for or taking actions regarding Medicaid enrollment.

Linking Lack of Medicaid Expansion to Increased Medical Debt – An Unsurprising Connection, An Opportunity to Address It

In addition to missing out on the benefits of Medicaid, individuals in states that have not expanded Medicaid also suffer more financially and accrue more debt than their counterparts in expansion states.

Larger ACA Premium Subsidies Are Covering Millions More: Here’s How Congress Can Make Them Permanent

Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, more than 2 million people have signed up for ACA Coverage or Medicaid. Unfortunately, these changes expire in two years.

Doggett Kicks off Legislative Efforts to Close the Medicaid Gap

We commend Rep. Doggett for his commitment to closing the Medicaid coverage gap, but we believe that this proposal could present challenges to the implementation of Medicaid expansion and leave consumers confused about who is covered.

Study after Study with the Same Results: Medicaid Expansion Is Good for States

Each week it seems like there is a new study that shows the benefits of expanding Medicaid – for both health and state budgets.

Possibilities On the Horizon: State Pathways to Health Care for Undocumented Communities

As we continue to wait and see what may happen on the federal level with legislative proposals such as the HEAL Act, states have stepped in to provide immigrant residents access to care.

Spotlight on Federal Funds to Boost Mental Health Services

This blog is the second in a three-part series on targeting newly approved federal funds for substance use disorders and mental illness to areas of greatest need.

Oral Health is a Right, Not a Luxury

A system that affords dental care as a luxury to the few while denying access to even the most basic care to the many will never lead to oral health equity.

The American Jobs Plan Includes Important Steps Forward for Home and Community-Based Services

Within the American Families Plan is $400 billion to improve HCBS and extend Medicaid’s Money Follows the Person program that allows people with disabilities to live independently and older adults to age in place.

2021 Black Maternal Health Week: New Opportunities to Take Action!

This week (April 11-17) marks Black Maternal Health Week, an annual event dedicated to highlighting the alarming statistics around Black maternal health and calling for policies that center birth and reproductive justice.

New Study Shows Medicaid Dental Coverage Improves Employment

New data add to mounting evidence that expanding access to dental coverage for people with low incomes has wide-ranging benefits.

Top Five Things to Ensure the Success of the American Rescue Plan Act

The American Rescue Plan Act funding is an exciting opportunity to advance health equity and racial justice, specifically by investing in communities.

The ACA’s Impact on People with Disabilities Eleven Years Later

By expanding care and coverage, the Affordable Care Act was a milestone for communities most underserved by the health system.

Bans on Sex Discrimination DO Protect LGBTQ+ People, SCOTUS Rules

Just three days after the Trump administration issued a new rule that would promote discrimination against LGBTQ+ people seeking health care, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) delivered a landmark ruling Monday (June 15) that undercuts the rationale...

Looking Back/Looking Forward: Taking Stock of 2019 and What to Anticipate in 2020

When it comes to health care, 2019 was an intense year full of many challenges and also some bright spots. As it recedes in the rear view mirror, let’s take a look at some of the key developments from 2019...

New Data Show ACA Is Reducing Racial Disparities in Health Coverage

Since the passage of the ACA over 20 million people have gained access to health insurance coverage through the Marketplace. A recent issue brief from...

Women’s History Month: A Time to Celebrate Women’s Health and the ACA!

This Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating the health gains women have made – and continue to make – since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

State Flexibility Threatens Progress on Essential Health Benefits

This blog is part of a series that will highlight how changes in the 2019 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters (NBPP) final rule will affect the comprehensive coverage that the essential health benefits (EHBs) package offer to consumers. On...

Happy 8th Birthday, ACA: Celebrating the ACA’s Important Role in Improving Health Equity

Eight years ago today, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law of the land, and this year’s birthday is truly one to celebrate.

Three Ways the 2018-2022 HHS Strategic Plan Turns Back the Clock on Progress

In September, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released its 2018-2022 Strategic Plan to provide new departmental guidance following the 2014 plan from the Obama administration. Upon first glance, it becomes readily apparent that the missions and priorities...

New Research Confirms Coverage For Parents Has Rolled Out “Welcome Mat” to Enrollment For Their Kids

New research confirms what we’ve known all along – the Affordable Care Act (ACA) improves the lives of families. According to a recent Health Affairs analysis, over 700,000 children who were eligible for Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)...

Repealing the Affordable Care Act without a Replacement Hurts Seniors

This guest blog is part of a series to highlight the dangers of repealing the Affordable Care Act. Multiple times a week, Community Catalyst will highlight a different constituency to draw attention to the benefits the ACA has afforded them...

What's at Stake for Women if the ACA is Repealed?

What’s at stake for women, as politicians in Washington pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as soon as January? Just ask 38-year-old Trei Clark of Atlanta.

How Will the “Young Invincibles” Fare Without the ACA? They’ll Have to Become Entirely Invincible…

What young adults stand to lose with the ACA opposition plan of repeal and delay >>

The Takeaway: Health Care and the Election - The Fight For Health Care Justice Must Continue

How the voters thought about health care The election is over and Donald Trump, to the surprise of most people (including, apparently, the Trump campaign team) will be the next president of the United States. Although this will have profound...

The Takeaway: What We Don't Know Could Hurt Us (Or Not)

Here’s a scary sentence courtesy of the editorial writers at The New York Times, “The Affordable Care Act’s flaws are fixable, but only if politicians from both parties work together in good faith.”

States’ Role in Preventing Churn: The Good and the Bad

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), 20 million people have gained health insurance coverage, creating a pathway to better health. However, holding on to that coverage is not always easy and barriers remain for many consumers. Even with the...

The Takeaway: Battle Lines Being Drawn

As the race for the White House tightens, a number of stories over the past week have cast a bright light on how the election outcome could shape future health care policy.

The Takeaway: Oh Aetna, Aetna, Aetna

Without a doubt the biggest health policy/politics story of last week was Aetna’s announced pullout from a large number of ACA markets.

The Takeaway: Are We Seeing the Last Gasp of Repeal and Replace? (Maybe Kinda Sorta)

It's been a surprising electoral campaign in many respects, but from a health policy standpoint, what isn't happening is perhaps as surprising as what is happening.

Making Non-Discriminatory Benefit Design a Reality

The Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Essential Health Benefits (EHB) completely changed health coverage by requiring health plans on the individual and small-group market to cover the same ten benefits without discrimination. These 10 essential categories of benefits range from general—office...

The Takeaway: Reflecting on the ACA

It was a big week for reflecting on the accomplishments of, and challenges facing, the ACA and the U.S. health care system. President Obama released an article in JAMA.

The Takeaway: Problems With The House Republican ACA Replace "Plan"? Let Me Count The Ways

After six-plus years of rhetoric and sixty-some repeal votes, the House Republican caucus finally produced a document they refer to as a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. (To call the plan disappointing would be an understatement. Despite my...

New Report Finds Value in the ACA’s Marketplaces

Amidst the noise of insurance companies deciding whether or not to sell on the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) marketplaces and proposed rates “doom,” the Commonwealth Fund released a new report that paints a brighter picture of the ACA and its...

The Takeaway: Summer Reruns

The thing about health policy “news” is that the same stories keep popping up over and over. This week we were treated to another episode of the long-running drama, “Repeal and Replace,” and also a sequel to that summertime favorite,...

Full Steam Ahead! Advocates Shaping the Conversation on Closing the Gap in Idaho

After years of silence within the Idaho Legislature on closing the coverage gap, and no visible intention of addressing it in the 2016 legislative session, advocates refused to leave 78,000 Idahoans in the gap and successfully shifted the conversation on...

The Takeaway: Cruz Issues An ACA Replacement Plan (April Fool)

Actually, he has done no such thing. His willingness to bring the federal government to a grinding halt in order to grandstand on the issue earned him a lot of notoriety. But when it comes to “replace,” the candidate remains vague at best.

My Day in Columbia, Missouri

It was a beautiful spring day to be in a conference room, but inside, people’s energy did not wane. I felt like I was in a room of scientists – listening to presentations, brainstorming ideas, evaluating new approaches – all...

The Takeaway: Final Obama Era Insurance Rule Makes Incremental Progress But Leaves Many Issues Unresolved

Every year, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issues an update to the rules governing insurance companies and marketplaces. While there were many small adjustments the final update released Monday, the last under President Obama, can most fairly...

The List of Benefits of Closing the Gap for Families and States Keeps Growing

Here’s another one to add to the growing list of benefits of closing the coverage gap. A recent study in Health Affairs confirms that closing the coverage gap improves access to and affordability of care for low-income adults. Compared to...

New Report Highlights Progress, Room for Improvement in Health Coverage Gains for Hispanic Children

Last Friday, the Georgetown Center for Children and the National Council of La Raza co-released a report detailing recent gains in health coverage for Hispanic children. Among the key findings in the report is that the uninsured rate among Hispanic children dropped...

Closing the Coverage Gap: How a Sweet Deal Might Get Even Sweeter

Talk about sweetening the pot. Today, the White House announced that President Obama’s Proposed 2017 Budget will create a new incentive for the remaining 19 states to close the coverage gap and insure millions of Americans. President Obama’s proposal would...

The Takeaway 2016 New Year’s Edition

Why Is This News? 2016 opened with yet another vote by the Republican controlled Congress to repeal the ACA coupled with more muttering about a replace agenda — we really really mean it this time. Maybe by the time we are...

The Takeaway: Holiday Hangover Edition

Just before the holiday recess Congress completed work on a budget package that included what some have described as "blows" to the ACA. Here's a belated reaction to a couple of the most discussed provisions. Unpacking the Cadillac Tax Debate...

The Takeaway: Gun Violence is a Public Health Issue. Time for Congress to Treat it Like One

Gun violence in the US seems to have reached epidemic proportions averaging at least one mass shooting per day in 2015. According to OECD data 87 percent of the children in the developed world who die from gun violence live in the...

The Takeaway: Having Their Cake and Eating It Too

Last night in a cynical act of political theatre, the Senate passed a bill to eliminate major provisions of the Affordable Care Act including expanded Medicaid coverage and tax credits for people who don't have affordable employer coverage. Of course,...

Dear South, There's Hope!

In the last two weeks, some major developments have rekindled hope for hundreds of thousands of Southerners left in the coverage gap. Since a disproportionate number of people in the coverage gap, 90 percent, live and work in the South,...

Marketplace-CHIP Comparability Study Is Out: Where Do We Go from Here?

Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, Health and Human Services (HHS) released the long awaited Certification of Comparability of Pediatric Coverage Offered by Qualified Health Plans.

UnitedHealth Feeling the Pain of Being Late to the Party

UnitedHealth’s recent fretting about their plans in ACA marketplaces not boosting their bottom line as much as they had hoped and open pondering of pulling out of marketplaces next year (while actually expanding this year) is disappointing in the attention...

The Takeaway: Reason Slowly Gaining Ground Over Ideology in Medicaid Debate

Reason Slowly Gaining Ground Over Ideology in Medicaid Debate When the Supreme Court ruled that states were not required to expand Medicaid to cover all poor adults, as originally envisioned by the ACA, it touched off a fierce political struggle...

The Takeaway: In Search of a Prescription for Runaway Drug Prices

The problem of runaway prescription drug costs continues to make headlines and bedevil consumers, payers and policy makers.

The Takeaway: More Signs of ACA Success but There's Still Work Left to Do

Michael Miller talks insurance merger mania, tackling out-of-pocket costs and more data touting the success of the ACA in this week’s edition of The Takeaway.

Three Year Navigator Grants Expand Scope to Reach Remaining Uninsured

On Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the Navigator grant recipients for the 2015-2018 open enrollment periods.

Rhode Island’s Dual Eligible Demonstration Project: Learning and Adjusting

In July, the Ocean State became the thirteenth state to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with CMS to move forward with integrating services and financing for its Medicare-Medicaid population (dual eligible).

The Takeaway: The South Leads the Nation…A Phrase We Don’t Often Get to Say

This week, Gallup released the results of a two-year survey on the nation's uninsured and the results have stunning implications for the South.

Rush to Judgment?

Under the Affordable Care Act, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is assisting states in integrating care for people who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.

The Takeaway: No ACA-Related News (and Few Sparks) in First GOP Presidential Debate

Immigration and the nuclear deal with Iran dominated the first Republican presidential debate last night. Health care issues were decidedly second tier with candidates saying expected things about defunding Planned Parenthood and repealing the ACA. The Fox News moderators pushed...

Washington Uninsured Rates Among Lowest in the Nation with New Medicaid Options

Before new coverage options under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) rolled out in October of 2013, Washington CAN! mobilized to make sure the state accepted federal funds to cover low-income adults through Medicaid.

North Carolina’s Direct Care Workers in the Coverage Gap

A recent paper from the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute indicates that of North Carolinians who are affected by the Medicaid coverage gap nearly 10 percent are direct-care workers.

Celebrating the Golden Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid – Looking Ahead to the Next 50 Years

Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the landmark amendments to the Social Security Act that created the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Closing the Gap in Indian Country

Right now, Hannah is uninsured. She can’t afford health insurance and doesn’t make enough to qualify for tax credits.

Investing in Medicaid is Paying Off for Colorado

On Medicaid’s 50th anniversary, it’s worth a look back at how the biggest expansion in the program’s history has helped Coloradans.

Medicaid reform – A Tale of Two States

Medicaid provides health and financial security for millions of low-income, working Americans. Despite the fact that Medicaid is as efficient as (or even more efficient than) private insurance, it is often a target of state budget cuts.

A Review of Georgia Nonprofit Hospital Community Health Needs Assessments

At Community Catalyst we are often asked for lessons or insights into the Community Health Needs Assessments that non-profit hospitals have been generating. We are in regular communication with several groups around the country who are monitoring CHNAs.

Reflecting on last week’s victories

The ACA and marriage equality decisions are the culmination of years of policy and legal strategies, organizing, and advocacy.

So Much PRIDE: Marriage Equality and the Affordable Care Act

We’re still celebrating the Supreme Court’s decisions regarding health care and marriage equality from last week. But, we’ve also now taken time to evaluate just what these decisions mean—together.

Closing the Gap Is About More Than Just the Bottom Line, But It Helps

Failing to close the gap is a missed opportunity for consumers, hospitals and states. The uninsured rate in the 30 states (including D.C.) that have closed the gap fell from 18 percent to just below 11 percent.

Yes, Remove the Flag. And Close the Coverage Gap to Really Address Racial Inequality

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the State House. Yet, she remains adamantly opposed to accepting the federal dollars set aside to extend Medicaid coverage to low-income South Carolinians.

Going the Extra Mile for Rural Hospitals

This month, a small town mayor, Adam O’Neal, and civil rights activist, Bob Zellner, are leading a 283 mile walk from Belhaven, NC to Washington, DC to call on lawmakers to close the coverage gap and help ensure that rural hospitals can remain open.

New rules on Special Enrollment Periods give consumers more flexibility to get covered

Once open enrollment ends a person can only join a Marketplace health plan, or change to a different one, if they qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP).

Network Adequacy: Are We There Yet? We're Getting Closer!

If you’re looking for summer plans, look no further! From now until September, it’s time to weigh in on 2016 Marketplace plans.

Measurement That Matters: A Starting Point to Get to “Better, Smarter, Healthier”

In January, we asked “How do we get to better, smarter, healthier?” One of the steps we identified was developing better people-centered health quality measures. The IOM recently released a report that has the potential to be a game changer.

The Takeaway: More Please

The most significant development of the week at the intersection of health care policy and politics was the Obama administration’s crackdown on insurers for evading the rules about free preventive services as they apply to contraception.

Cross-Post: What do the new contraceptive coverage rules mean?

National Women’s Health Week kicked off with an exciting announcement on Monday. The Obama Administration issued new guidance clarifying that all new health insurance plans have to cover all methods of contraceptive care without charging extra.

IRS Final Rules for Tax-Exempt Hospitals: The Work Ahead

2015 is shaping up to be a pivotal year for non-profit hospital community benefit. The Hospital Accountability Project team has been closely tracking developments in the non-profit hospital sector and in communities across the nation.

There Is No Time like the Present to Talk about EHB Benchmarks!

Yes, you heard it right – it’s time to do essential health benefits selection…again.

VITA Volunteering: A First-Hand Glimpse Into the Intersection of the ACA and Taxes

This year my tax season did not start and end, as it typically does, with the latest Turbo Tax software and single W-2 form. Instead the season began a lot earlier and revolved around a trio of brand new Affordable Care Act tax forms.

The ACA Is About People, Not Politics

Over the past five years, we have watched the Affordable Care Act go from a hotly contested piece of legislation to a hotly contested law that, despite non-stop efforts to undermine it, has given millions of American’s access to health care.

People Prevail Over Politics in Montana

This week, Montana becomes the 29th state (plus the District of Columbia) to close the coverage gap, and the first state to get legislative approval to expand Medicaid in over a year.

CHIP Success: Where Do We Go From Here?

Yesterday, we alerted our partners to the great news that the Senate had passed H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).

Two-to-One Odds against Consumers with Behavioral Illnesses

For millions of people who need treatment for drug and alcohol problems or mental illness, inequity is a reality.

The Benefits of Closing the Gap on State Budgets Keep Adding Up

We know we’re starting to sound like a broken record, but we couldn’t help but share that yet another report boasts how closing the gap is good for state budgets.

Continuing a Legacy of Children’s Coverage

The Senate must act quickly next week to extend CHIP and protect the coverage of 8 million children.

Tackling Health Disparities in the Aging Population

With April being National Minority Health Month, the time is now to stand against the barriers that create the social, health and economic disparities experienced by older adults – a population that is becoming more and more diverse.

Let's Help Medicaid Nurture Innovation

Everywhere you look these days, more initiatives are sprouting to improve the health system. Medicaid is no exception, it is a program willing and able to help states lead the way toward more effective and efficient care.

An Open Letter: Dear Governor, Protect Coverage

As you continue budget conversations with your state legislature, state consumer health advocates urge you to protect health insurance coverage programs that help consumers achieve financial stability and good health.

Happy Fifth Birthday, ACA!

The passage of the ACA was a monumental achievement for individuals and organizations across the country. We continue to be incredibly proud of all our state partners who have worked tirelessly to implement the law.

Slow but Steady: Red States Make Progress Closing the Coverage Gap

A few recent headlines suggest that red states stopped making progress on closing the coverage gap, but these headlines don’t accurately describe the coverage gap debate.

States Report that Closing the Coverage Gap is Good for Budgets

The evidence confirming that closing the coverage gap is good for working families and state budgets continues to pile up.

It’s time to start talking about Essential Health Benefit benchmark plans!

It seems like a distant memory when states had to choose their Essential Health Benefit (EHB) benchmark plans. However this process will repeat itself, as states have the option to pick new benchmark plans for the 2017 plan year based on a 2014 plan.

Closing the Gap in Kentucky Brings Better Coverage, New Jobs, State Savings, and a Boost to Providers

Good news from Kentucky provides compelling evidence that closing the gap is the right decision, and we hope other states take note.

Moving CHIP Forward: Discussion Draft Demands Response

Yesterday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hatch (R-UT), House E&C Chairman Upton (R-MI), and Representative Pitts (R-PA) released a discussion draft that outlines their vision for the future of CHIP.

Preparing for 2016 Marketplaces: What Can Consumer Advocates Do?

While you are still helping consumers enroll and learn how to use their 2015 coverage, insurers are putting together applications for 2016 qualified health plan (QHP) certification.

Health Equity In Focus: Outreach and Education Come First in Bhutanese Refugee Community

Nearly a year ago, a new partnership was formed to promote outreach and enrollment opportunities for the Bhutanese community in Georgia.

Sharing Recovery Stories: Utah Advocate at the White House

The Utah Health Policy Project and Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness were awarded a grant from Community Catalyst to highlight how closing the coverage gap would help Utahns in recovery and integrate it into our campaign.

A Day in the Life: Helping People Stay Covered Through Economic Ups and Downs

Navigators, assisters, and certified application counselors are the unbiased people who are there helping consumers understand the new insurance options available to them. We want to elevate their voices to share the experience of enrolling people.

Another Day, Another “Plan”

Last year, long-time ACA critics Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Richard Burr of North Carolina and former Sen. Tom Coburn released a concept paper on replacing the ACA that failed to garner the support of the GOP at large.

Telling the consumer assistance story: Evaluation of outreach and enrollment efforts

Health Care for All is strongly committed to outreach efforts across the state. As outreach workers, we often hear the question: “What strategy or activity is the most effective in enrolling folks in coverage?” The answer is: everything, all the time.

Something for the Rest of Us: Finally, Federal Rules on Hospital Bills Are Here

You can almost set your clock by it: at least once a year, a major piece of investigative journalism documents the struggles of uninsured and underinsured people who carry heavy medical debt and are facing collection actions from hospitals.

'Tis the Season for Network Adequacy

Need an escape from crowded malls, holiday meal planning and travel plans? We’ve got the solution: escape to a quiet corner of your home with steaming cup of hot coco, a warm blanket and hundreds of pages of proposed federal regulations....

Health Insurance Never Sounded So Good!

The holiday season brings many traditions to look forward to, such as spending time with family and exchanging gifts. There are also some less-favored traditions, though, such as the deluge of holiday-themed advertisements.

Boosting Latino Coverage: Strategies for Open Enrollment 2.0

With open enrollment in full swing, consumer health advocates are ramping up their outreach to diverse populations that continue to have disproportionately high rates of uninsurance.  Latinos in particular are more likely to be uninsured, with one in three Latinos...

Thanksgiving Reflections: Open Enrollment and Children's Health

As consumer health advocates celebrated Thanksgiving last week, we had much to be thankful for. As we ate our turkey, we were thankful not only for friends, family and good health, but also for millions of Americans enrolling in health coverage.

What are you thankful for? Proposed regulation around Essential Health Benefits!

Last Friday afternoon, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published the highly anticipated 2016 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters (BPP) rule. The BPP addresses a number of consumer...

Celebrating Successes: Protecting Access to affordable and quality coverage and care for people living with HIV

Dedicated advocacy has led to important successes in protecting health insurance coverage and health care access for people living with HIV. Below are three recent successes, both advocates working at the state and federal levels.

Advocacy Strategies to Address Discrimination in Health Plans Part 2: New Discrimination and Barriers to Care for People Living with HIV/AIDS

This guest blog post is the second blog in a series on discrimination in health plans. In this blog we highlight how discrimination in health plans affects people living with HIV/AIDS and policy recommendations to address the issue. While the...

We’re Calling the Play: Ready, Set, Enroll!

The Affordable Care Act’s second open enrollment period starts tomorrow! On Saturday, November 15, millions of Americans can begin enrolling in and renewing their quality, affordable health coverage through the Marketplaces.

50 State Report: Let’s keep fighting for children’s coverage

Following years of decline, uninsurance rate for children are holding steady, according to a report that Georgetown Center for Children and Families released today. Their annual 50-state report provides a detailed picture of kids’ coverage at the state and national...

From Connecticut to the Capitol: A Consumer Focus

As Kevin Counihan takes the reigns as the “Obamacare CEO” of and as we all gear up for open enrollment, Community Catalyst hopes that HealthCare.Gov will run as smoothly this year as AccessHealthCT did under Counihan’s leadership.

Making it Matter: Supporting LGBT Seniors through Health Care Reform Initiatives

As Community Catalyst’s Health Equity summer intern, I got to spend some time chatting with Linda Ellis of Georgia’s The Health Initiative about why closing the coverage gap in Georgia, and other states that have yet to expand Medicaid is...

What does the Coverage Gap have to do with kids? A whole lot, it turns out.

Last week, Virginia’s General Assembly once again took up the issue of closing the coverage gap, and once again struck the measure down. The primary goal of last week’s special session was to discuss the closure of this gap: Governor...

Take 2: Essential Health Benefits – Wait, didn’t we just do that?

As we enter the fall of 2014, the window of opportunity to influence what benefits are required in Marketplace plans is opening. While the essential health benefits (EHB) package is already set for 2015, advocates have the opportunity to influence...

Navigator Grant Recipients for 2014: New Recipients Have Strengths in Reaching the Remaining Uninsured

On Monday, the Department of Health and Human Services released Navigator grant recipients for the 2014 open enrollment period.

How state-based advocates made open enrollment a success

Last week was all about outreach and enrollment and talking up the success of consumer advocates’ work during the first ACA open enrollment period.

Cross-Post: Creating unlikely partnerships to improve the health of diverse older adults

This blog was originally posted by the Diverse Elders Coalition here.  Community Catalyst and the Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC) are thrilled to announce the launch of two new partnerships on the ground in New Mexico and Georgia. The unlikely partnerships will facilitate the...

Recognizing National Foster Care Month

May is National Foster Care Month, and it is a great time to reflect on the unique health needs of youth who are or have been in foster care and how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) helps to support these...

Health Equity in Focus: Taking a Closer Look—Successful enrollment strategies in New Jersey

In New Jersey, the final enrollment numbers attest to the coordinated efforts enrollment specialists and consumer health advocates activated across the Garden State. With more than 162,000 New Jerseyans enrolled in the Marketplace in this first open enrollment period, and...

The ACA’s Success is Bigger Than Enrollment

The end of the first open enrollment period has brought with it some great news – more than 8 million individuals have enrolled in Marketplace plans since October 2013, and more than 4 million individuals gained coverage through Medicaid and...

Schools don’t have to be experts- Just be ALL IN

This entry was originally posted on the California Coverage & Health Intiatives blog.  The idea that schools are a link to successful children and families is not new. Growing up, my parents received all types of information from my school...

Michigan Becomes the Ninth State to Move Forward with Capitated Duals Demonstration

The “Great Lakes State” is the latest to ink an agreement with CMS for a demonstration project, called MI Health Link, aimed at integrating care for people with both Medicare and Medicaid (dual eligibles). The Michigan Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)...

Alabama students take the lead with Bama Covered

Dev’on Cross was six when his mother was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis. Years later, Dev’on experienced his own set of health problems, including corneal eye ulcers, brain cysts, deafness in his left ear, and two bouts of pneumonia....

Enrollment is Closed (Sort of); Now What?

First, congratulate yourselves and each other After a horrific start in much of the country, with not only the federal marketplace but also many states as well failing to perform, the first ACA open enrollment period finished on a strong...

A Day in the Life: One Navigator's Experience in Kansas

Navigators, assisters, and certified application counselors are the unbiased people who are there helping consumers understand what the Affordable Care Act means for them and the new insurance options available to them through the law. We want to elevate their...

Update: Medicaid Expansion Becomes a Reality in New Hampshire

At the beginning of March, we were thrilled to report that the bi-partisan way had been paved for New Hampshire to expand its Medicaid program. With Senate approval of Senate Bill 413 in hand, the House passed the Medicaid expansion...

This Shout Out goes to... the Health Council of South Florida

Earlier this month, First Lady Michelle Obama visited the Health Council of South Florida (HCSF), one of Community Catalyst’s advocate partners that is helping uninsured Floridians enroll in needed coverage. The Department of Health and Human Services asked HCSF  to...

A Day in the Life: One Navigator’s Experience in Bedford County, PA

Navigators, assisters, and certified application counselors are the unbiased people who are there helping consumers understand what the Affordable Care Act means for them and the new insurance options available to them through the law. We want to elevate their...

"Show Me State" Enrollers Show Us How Enrollment Gets Done

Since October, more than 5 million people nationwide have enrolled in health insurance through Marketplaces. This could not have happened without the help of thousands of Certified Application Counselors (CACs). Last week, I had the good fortune of spending a...

Restrictive State Laws Seek to Throw Navigators off Course

As March 31 approaches, signaling the end of ACA open enrollment in Marketplaces until fall of this year, in-person assistance programs are of critical importance. Navigators and other enrollment assisters have been working hard across the country to help consumers...

Bipartisan (yes, that's right) passage of Medicaid Expansion in New Hampshire

New Hampshire consumer advocates and supporters of Medicaid Expansion are waking up today to a new chapter in coverage for New Hampshire residents. With bipartisan support, Senate Bill 413 passed yesterday 18-5 in the Republican-controlled Senate. It is expected to...

And This Shout Out Goes to....FLORIDA CHAIN!!

And This Shout Out Goes to...Florida CHAIN!!! Amidst a challenging political environment for Medicaid expansion efforts, Florida CHAIN Organizer Ryan Morris found a way to show how much of a “joke” rejecting Medicaid expansion is for the sick and working...

Elevating LGBT Health Equity

It is with great pride that we’re posting this blog today! Last night, Community Catalyst was honored at Mass Equality’s annual Icon Awards, recognizing our role as an ally organization in improving access to health coverage for LGBT individuals and...

Health Equity in Focus: Overcoming Enrollment Challenges: Tips for Connecting with Communities of Color

Last year we brought you the Ten Tips for Engaging Communities of Color in Policy Change after meeting with advocates. This year advocates from around the country shared their successes and challenges as they moved through the enrollment period. As...

What’s in your network?

Network adequacy – the ability of a health plan to provide enrollees with timely access to needed care included in the benefit contract – continues to capture headlines throughout the country as states consider how to engage in the conversation...

More Work to Be Done: Culturally Competent LGBT Enrollment Practices

January’s enrollment updates tell us that the total number of those enrolled in Marketplace health insurance coverage hovers above two million. Another 3.9 million individuals have been determined eligible for state Medicaid and CHIP programs. And we know that more...

The Insider: The Boogeyman Under the Bed: Adverse Selection in the ACA and other Dysfunctional Fantasies

I kept thinking I wouldn't have to write this blog because people would figure out that all the hand wringing about adverse selection in the Marketplaces was just a tempest in a teapot. The press has been so bad on...

Outreach Lessons from the States: Missouri’s Tapping into Provider Potential

With the deadline to enroll in federal and state marketplaces (for coverage beginning January 1, 2014) approaching on December 23rd, we know that our partners are working tirelessly to reach out to and enroll consumers in health coverage.  In recognition of this...

Outreach Lessons from the States: Mobile Technology Helps Consumers Connect

With the deadline to enroll in federal and state marketplaces (for coverage beginning January 1, 2014) approaching on December 23rd, we know that our partners are working tirelessly to reach out to and enroll consumers in health coverage.  In recognition of this...

A Few of Our Favorite Things - 10 Essential Health Benefits

As Community Catalyst releases its 12 Days of Enrollment, we also wanted to remind you of a few of our favorite things. At the top of our list is the essential health benefits package (tied up with string). Why? Because...

Outreach Lessons From the States: Using video to your advantage!

With the deadline to enroll in federal and state marketplaces (for coverage beginning January 1, 2014) approaching on December 23rd, we know that our partners are working tirelessly to reach out to and enroll consumers in health coverage.  In recognition of this...

Outreach Lessons From the States: Veterans Protected Our Country, Now They’re Promoting Our Health!

With the deadline to enroll in federal and state marketplaces (for coverage beginning January 1, 2014) approaching on December 23rd, we know that our partners are working tirelessly to reach out to and enroll consumers in health coverage.  In recognition of this...

Outreach Lessons from the States: Pennsylvania Is Earning Dividends from a Good Investment

With the deadline to enroll in federal and state marketplaces (for coverage beginning January 1, 2014) approaching on December 23rd, we know that our partners are working tirelessly to reach out to and enroll consumers in health coverage.  In recognition of this...

The Story behind Health Plan Cancellations

There have been many stories in the news about plan cancellations and President Obama’s recent announcement that insurers will have the opportunity to continue selling plans they otherwise would have cancelled. While some have celebrated the President’s announcement, plan cancellations...

Speaker Boehner’s Health Care Woes Were Created by the ACA’s Opponents

On Monday, Politico came out with a story about how Speaker John Boehner and his wife were going to have to pay higher costs as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

Takeaways from NEACH’s 2013 Children’s Health Summit

Earlier this month, the New England Alliance for Children’s Health team gathered with our partners from around New England to discuss current events and future issues in children’s health policy. We were pleased that partners from all six New England...

States to Decide Medicaid Eligibility for Same-Sex Couples

The Supreme Court’s decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was met with much elation by advocates pursuing marriage equality. The federal government has been working, since that momentous decision was released, to clarify just how it impacts various...

Cross Post: As High Risk Pool Coverage Ends, Coverage Gaps Could Arise for Some Enrollees

This entry was originally posted on The Center for Health Insurance Reforms, Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s CHIR Blog. As ACA implementation unfolds, millions who had inadequate coverage in the individual market will gain more comprehensive coverage that provides greater...

Behind Every Great Medicaid Champion is an Even Greater Advocacy Community

Ohio recently became the 25th state (plus DC) to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Connecting the Dots between Hospital Financial Assistance and the ACA

It is time to connect hospital financial assistance to the rest of the ACA. It could make a difference for millions of people.

Enrolling Thousands of Medicaid Beneficiaries is a Snap (Pun Intended!)

A handful of states are quickly enrolling certain Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants into Medicaid.

Health Equity in Focus: Equality in Coverage: Getting 293,932 LGBT Georgians Health Care

To celebrate National Coming Out Day we wanted to showcase the partnership Georgians for a Healthy Future and Georgia Equality have formed over the past year to advance access to health care for the state’s nearly 300,000 LGBT citizens.

It’s a New Ballgame

As baseball season enters its homestretch, a new season is about to kick off in health care as open enrollment through Obamacare begins for the first time.

Essential Health Benefits: Where Are We Now?

It has been a long road for essential health benefits. With open enrollment just around the corner, it is important to revisit what standard benefits will be included in the packages and what to look out for.

Dog Days of the Summer NAIC meeting

While most of us are trying to enjoy the last few days of summer before a very busy fall of ACA implementation, insurance commissioners continued their work at the summer 2013 meeting of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

So You Want to Be a Navigator?

By now we know people will need information and assistance to find and enroll in the right health coverage for them under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Young Women: Time to Fall in Love with the ACA!

The Affordable Care Act (Obama’s health care reform law), has already been improving young women’s health while saving them and their families money for over three years.

Much Ado about Rates - Part II

A steady stream of news headlines about states’ new health insurance rates for plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have generated buzz and also caused some confusion.

Much Ado about Rates

Lately, we’ve seen a flood of states announcing new health insurance rates for plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). So what do they all mean? To start, the new rates are mainly for the individual market, for people who buy insurance on their own.

MLR in Action: A $749.00 Rebate for One MA Consumer

MLR (medical loss ratio) rebate checks are in the mail! We are already starting to hear stories from satisfied consumers whose insurance companies are required to issue rebates to their policyholders.

Healthy Teeth, Healthy Kids: Making Sure Families Can Afford Pediatric Dental Benefits Under the ACA

I always tell my kids, don’t forget to brush your teeth! As we gear up for open enrollment in October, that phrase takes on a whole new meaning: Don’t forget to buy your pediatric coverage.

Thanks to MLR, Rebates Are Back!

For the second year in a row, the tables have been turned on insurance companies, and they are the ones writing the checks! Rebates are back, thanks to medical loss ratio (MLR) requirements in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Cross-Post: Huge health insurance price drop in store for New Yorkers

New Yorkers have a LOT to smile about! The proposed health insurance rates for the New York Health Benefit Exchange have been released and show that prices on the individual market will soon be dropping by a whopping 50%.

Some Kids Will Still Face Waiting Periods for CHIP, Unless States Act

Nothing says “long weekend” like a long list of regulations, right? While most of us were still recovering from our Independence Day celebrations, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) released a 600-page final rule.

DOMA Ruling: Better Health Care Access for LGBT Families

If you walked around our office last Thursday morning, you would have found nearly everyone’s eyes glued to SCOTUSBlog, awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the Proposition 8 case from California.

Health Equity in Focus: Can I get an Amen? Successful strategies for organizing faith leaders

This is a guest post by Suzanne Schlattman, Deputy Director for Development and Community Outreach for the Maryland Citizens Health Initiative. Faith leaders are often on the front lines serving families in crisis, whether at the side of the hospital bed,

The Latest Scoop on Enrollment: Broker Regulations

As open enrollment approaches, consumers will need accurate information to choose the right health plan. The Affordable Care Act provides assistance to consumers in a variety of flavors.

Expanding Medicaid Will Dramatically Improve Behavioral Health Care

We talk a lot about Medicaid Expansion on this blog because we know it is vital to improving access to health care for millions of people. But sometimes it’s helpful to review how it will help people.

Cross post: Competition And Transparency Bring down Health Insurance Costs—Here’s The Proof

As we near open enrollment in new health plans, all eyes are on insurance premiums and the rates they are based on. Industry-backed sources have been fueling the media with doomsday scenarios about cost increases due to the ACA.

Health Equity in Focus: It’s a New Day for Health Care in New Mexico!

This is a guest post by Joe Martinez, Consumer Outreach Coordinator for Health Action New Mexico. Be sure to check out HANM’s blog for more coverage of their work.

Making Medicaid Enrollment Easier -- for People and for States

Advocates, stakeholders, federal and state governments are busy planning strategies for enrolling millions of newly eligible people into health coverage in 2014. But last week, CMS quietly released guidance that could lighten the load on everyone.

Engaging Veterans in the Medicaid Expansion

At Community Catalyst, we believe everyone should have a say in the decisions that affect their health. Many governors are now making decisions that affect the health of thousands of veterans and their families.

A Blueprint for Consumer Engagement in Dual Eligible Demonstrations

Building anything new is tough. That’s why we turn to blueprints and experts. The same principle applies to the federal demonstration projects for people eligible for Medicaid and Medicare (dual eligibles) under construction in more than 20 states.

New Polling Shows Strong Support for Expanding Medicaid in the Deep South

This week advocates in the South received yet another good reason to push for expanding Medicaid in their states.

Did Issuers Get a Free Pass on the Inclusion of Essential Community Provider Requirements?

The Affordable Care Act requires qualified health plans participating in health insurance marketplaces (aka Exchanges) to maintain a sufficient number of Essential Community Providers (ECP) in their provider network.

New Study Builds Case for Expanding Medicaid

A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine confirms what consumer health advocates have known for decades: Medicaid is essential for keeping low-income households on stable financial footing.

The "Rate Shock" Myth

As Affordable Care Act opponents continue grasping at straws to find fault with the law, an assertion perpetuated by the insurance industry that the ACA’s coverage expansions will significantly increase premiums has gained prominence.

From the Feds Down to the States: Using Navigators to Promote Health Equity

HHS recently released the cooperative agreement funding opportunity for organizations interested in serving as Navigators in states with a Partnership or Federally Facilitated Exchange.

Spring NAIC Meeting: Insurance Commissioners Take Houston

This past weekend, insurance commissioners and their staff, along with insurance companies, brokers, other industry representatives, and a few intrepid consumer representatives gathered at the Spring meeting of the NAIC

Greater Than the Sum

April is National Minority Health Month and it is more important than ever to raise awareness about health disparities that continue to affect the health of millions of Americans.

Illinois Rolls Out Details of Duals Demo

On February 22, Illinois became the fourth state to move forward with a demonstration project striving to integrate care for people eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid (dual eligibles). The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Illinois and the Ce

Providing People of Color the Assistance They Need to Enroll

By January 1, 2014, 13 million people of color, including many immigrants, will be able to get health coverage through the new Insurance Exchanges, or Marketplaces. But it is still “insanely confusing” to navigate the complex health insurance system.

Getting Ready for Enrollment: Rhode Island Parent Information Network Starts Consumer Assistance Program

With enrollment around the corner, states have begun to think about the help consumers will need to enroll in coverage.

News from the Land of Lincoln and New Resources from Community Catalyst

Last week, Illinois became the fourth state to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and take the next step in creating a dual eligible demonstration project aimed at integrating care.

Essential Health Benefits: A little changed, a lot to monitor

Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the final rule for Essential Health Benefits, Actuarial Value, and Accreditation. This anticipated rule was largely unchanged from its original form.

Improving Medicaid: Federal help to expand home care

Is your state still stowing in nursing homes people who could live at home with adequate help ? Is the state spending millions of Medicaid dollars on institutional long-term care when they could get federal funds to expand the less expensive community ser

Cross Post: The ACA’s Valentine to Veronica and Her Family: Peace of Mind

Health, happiness and success are three of the most common wishes parents have for their children’s future.

Navigators, Assisters, and Counselors, Oh My!

By now we know that upwards of 30 million Americans will have new, more affordable health coverage options available to them by January 1, 2014. But what many don’t realize is how incredibly difficult it can be to understand and choose the right health in

Cross Post: Consumers, Doctors and Legislators: Let the Sunshine In

This entry was originally posted on Community Catalyst's PostScript blog.  Consumer advocates, doctors, employers and leaders in Congress alike have all written letters this month urging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to implement

Partnership Exchanges – Coming into Focus

With a year to go before Exchanges open for business, the pace of new guidance continues to pick up. Just this past week, HHS released guidance on State Partnership Exchanges. The Partnership Exchange is not an option presented in the Affordable Care Act

The ACA Does That Too?! Moving to Curb LGBTQ discrimination in Health Care

A woman in New Jersey was denied insurance coverage for an annual mammogram despite her plan’s typical coverage for such services. The reason: she’s transgender and her plan denies any coverage related to sex reassignment. She filed a lawsuit and eventual

The Insider: Health care and the fiscal debate: Where are we now and where are we going?

As the final days of 2012 slip away, little time remains for Congress and the President to strike a deal on tax rates and spending levels. If there is no deal, a host of tax cuts enacted under both Presidents Bush and Obama will expire (along with a numbe

Cross Post: Pass the Stuffing: There’s a lot going on in the new essential health benefit rules

This blog entry was originally posted on CHIRblog, a blog from the Center for Health Insurance Reforms, Georgetown University Health Policy Institute. Last week, right before the Thanksgiving holiday, the Obama Administration released its proposed rule es

Highlights from 2012 NEACH Children’s Health Care Summit

On November 14, Community Catalyst’s New England Alliance for Children’s Health (NEACH) hosted its annual Children’s Health Care Summit in Worcester, Massachusetts. The summit covered topics such as consumer assistance programs, foster youth and the Affor

Navigating Managed Care’s Strange New World

State Medicaid programs have been moving at warp speed to turn over long-term services and supports (LTSS) to managed care companies. For some states, this marks the first journey into the tricky terrain of mandatory managed care for seniors and people wi

The Insider: Get out the Rye Bread and Mustard, Grandma, cause it's Grand Salami Time

For over two years, health reformers have been holding their breath waiting to see if the ACA would be a home run or just a long fly-out. With the re-election of President Obama and an expanded Democratic majority in the Senate, the news on the scoreboard

Statement of Robert Restuccia, Executive Director of Community Catalyst, on the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States

(BOSTON) - “Americans want the peace of mind that they can go to the doctor when they get sick and receive high quality, affordable health care. President Barack Obama’s re-election ensures Americans will be able to access the health care they need throug

The Real Story: Advocates’ work in 2012 prepares states for consumer friendly Exchanges

We’ve all heard the prevailing story – state action to create health insurance Exchanges, online marketplaces where people can get information about and obtain health insurance, has been very limited in 2012. After eleven states and DC passed legislation

What Successful Advocacy Looks Like

Today Community Catalyst launched a new section of our website, “Stories from the States: the Impact of the ACA Implementation Fund.” Dedicated to showcasing the success state advocates have had in their work to ensure effective and consumer-focused imple

Essential Health Benefits - Last Call?

September 30 is upon us. Has your state e-filed their Essential Health Benefits (EHB) plan? The ACA requires that all new, non-grandfathered plans in the individual and small group markets both inside and outside the Exchange offer a standard package of b

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Benefits are Essential!

Frequent readers of this blog will know that we’ve written previously on Essential Health Benefits (EHB), a minimum set of core benefits the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires most plans to cover starting in 2014. States are in the process of choosing a b

Cross Post: Summaries of Insurance Benefits and Coverage will Help Consumers Comparison Shop

This entry was originally posted on the Center on Health Insurance Reforms at Georgetown University Health Policy Institute's CHIRblog. As of September 23, the “wild west” of shopping for health insurance coverage has been at least partially tamed, thanks

Delivery System Reform: A Vehicle to Improve Health Equity

Provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) address a challenge many across the nation are trying to tackle – advancing health equity by improving the health status of and quality of care for racial and ethnic minorities. A recent report issued by the Nat

The ACA: Saving Consumers’ Premium Dollars Once Again

Hot off the heels of $1.1 billion in rebates from insurance companies that failed to meet the medical loss ratio (MLR) standard, the ACA is again saving money for consumers. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) just released a new report that

MA Business Leaders: Why MA Health Reform Is Good for Business

It’s no secret that the Massachusetts health reform law is a great success for the people of Massachusetts: • 98 percent of residents have health insurance • There are virtually no uninsured children • The number of people with a usual source of care

Massachusetts First to Sign Agreement with CMS to Implement a Duals Demonstration Program

Efforts to integrate care for people enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid (dual eligibles) took another step forward last month when Massachusetts became the first state to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Centers for Medicare and Medic

NAIC August Meeting: A Few Fireworks at a Mostly Humdrum Meeting

Guest Blog The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) held its annual summer meeting in Atlanta this past weekend. The meeting was striking more for what was not accomplished than for what was. State health insurance commissioners have an

Moving Latinas Health Forward: Celebrating the Latina Week of Action

It couldn’t be a more perfect week to celebrate the third annual Latina Week of Action. Eight days ago, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) began to level the playing field when it comes to gender inequity in health care by expanding women’s access to preventiv

Something to Celebrate: Three Big Birthdays, One Short Week

Three programs vital to the health care security to millions of Americans celebrated birthdays last week. Medicaid and Medicare turned 47, and their “little sibling,” the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP), also marked 15 years of ensuring low-income

This Week’s Shout Out Goes to… (Drumroll please!) #4

Women’s Health Advocates! Things you missed if you’ve been living under a rock this week: The United States Women’s gymnastics team took home the gold medal on Tuesday, and millions of other American women celebrated gaining access to new preventive benef

HHS pushing ahead on EHB

In a notably quick turnaround, Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a final rule on what data insurers must provide regarding the essential health benefits (EHB) potential benchmark plans. As a reminder, the EHB is the standard benefit package that must

The checks are in the mail – but for once they’re coming from insurers & going to consumers

When was the last time your insurance company wrote you a check? Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), millions of Americans are beginning to enjoy that very rare – and very satisfying – experience. Rebates totaling more than $1.1 billion are on the wa

Foster Care Children and The Affordable Care Act – New Report From CCF And Community Catalyst

In a new analysis, Georgetown’s Center for Children and Families and Community Catalyst, take a look at key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that hold the promise of improving the health and well-being of the nation’s foster care children and y

Back to Work… Improving Care for the Dually Eligible

Now that the Supreme Court has unequivocally upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it’s time to get back to our ongoing work of implementing the law. As we’ve said before, the rubber hits the road for the ACA at the state and local levels, and this is esp

This Pride Month, LGBT health advocates are celebrating the ACA

This post is a guest blog from our partners at Raising Women's Voices for the Health Care We Need. “The Affordable Care Act may represent the strongest foundation we have ever created to begin closing LGBT health disparities.” That’s how U.S. Secretary of

Takeaways from “The Dual Agenda: Better Care at a Lower Cost?”

On June 1st, with the generous support of The Atlantic Philanthropies, The John A. Hartford Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Community Catalyst brought together advocates, providers, policymakers, funders, and technical experts to discus

Anti-fraud efforts by Attorneys-General and the Department of Justice are reaping billions more than expected

The Affordable Care Act created some desperately needed means to start controlling ever-rising health care costs. Many -- like preventive care or delivery reforms -- will take some time to realize savings. In contrast, new anti-fraud efforts look to be pa

Basic Health Program: This Wallflower is About to Bloom

The Basic Health Program isn’t the most flashy or popular provision in the Affordable Care Act. But anyone who’s watched a classic – or even a less-than-classic - teen romantic comedy knows that the shy, somewhat awkward wallflowers often have tremendous

Treating Kids Pays

Last week the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made headlines with the announcement of a proposed rule that would increase payment rates for primary care physicians serving Medicaid patients. The rule would bring Medicaid primary care service

States of Innovation 4

Medical Homes: Local Focus, Better Health As policymakers across the country look to balance their budgets, some are turning to Medicaid, recycling the same harmful policies they’ve used year-after-year: eliminating coverage for vulnerable Americans, res

I Love MamaCare!

This is a guest post from Raising Women’s Voices. This weekend not only marks a time where we will be celebrating Moms, but it marks the launch of a campaign celebrating everything the Affordable Care Act does for the health of mothers and children, “I Lo

Have you thanked a nurse this week? If you haven’t, you should.

Many of us take for granted the high quality care that nurses provide. Most likely, you have seen a nurse in your physician’s office, a retail clinic, in a hospital setting or even an outpatient clinic just to name a few. Every day they work to address ou

The Prevention Fund is Under Attack -- Again!

Would you rather be healthy or have affordable education? That’s the false choice House Republicans are trying to force us to consider by pitting higher education against health. Last Friday House Republicans joined others in supporting the Interest Rate

Guest Blog: The Debt Collector Will See You Now

This entry was originally posted on The Shriver Brief. When patients seek emergency medical treatment, they expect to speak to doctors and nurses—not debt collectors. But hundreds of documents released last week by the Minnesota attorney general reveal th

The Shout Out Goes To…(drumroll please!)

State Advocates Who Participated in Our ACA Anniversary Challenge! This March we called on advocates across the country to participate in our Affordable Care Act Anniversary Challenge, a contest designed to celebrate the successes of health reform. The go

Health Equity Can't Wait: Guest Blog: Why Are Women of Color Still Dying in Childbirth?

Community Catalyst is proudly taking part in the Health Equity Can’t Wait! blog carnival celebrating National Minority Health Month. Participating bloggers are health, consumer, civil rights, and provider advocates committed to promoting health equity. Yo

The Insider: ACA opponents are counting their chickens too soon (and even if they win, they lose)

Pouring over the entrails Like ancient soothsayers seeking to read the future from the condition of the liver of an animal sacrifice, the political and policy addicts are picking through the transcripts of the oral arguments at the Supreme Court trying to

Better Care, Lower Costs: New Models of Care for Duals

Recently, the Kaiser Family Foundation released helpful new data on the role Medicare and Medicaid programs play for dually eligible beneficiaries. As a group, these 9 million low-income seniors and people with disabilities tend to have higher rates of ch

Keep talking up the medical loss ratio!

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, consumers have greater protections when buying health insurance. The new medical loss ratio (MLR) rule requires that health insurance companies must spend at least 80 percent of premiums on medical care and quality impro

What Retirement? Former Congressmen Kennedy and Ramstad Announce Work on Substance Use Disorders

Bipartisan friendships have not been on display in Washington, DC of late, but a recent event there showed how two committed advocates for consumers battling mental health and substance use disorders are letting neither their retirement from Congress nor

A Supreme Court wrap up: School House Style.

After a week of deciphering arcane acts and constitutional powers, one thing remains clear: the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is law. It was law last week, it is law today, and it will be law tomorrow. We all remember its development, passage and signing int

Medicaid Makes States an Offer That Is Too Good To Refuse

Today, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s Medicaid expansion (the planned increase in the number of low-income adults who are able to receive Medicaid coverage in 2014) is constitutional. The plaintiffs will a

Guest Blog: The Dog that Didn’t Bark: The Individual Mandate in Massachusetts

This is a guest post from our partner Health Care for All in Massachusetts.  Republicans have called it the end of liberty in America. Santorum said it would "crush freedom." Yet here in Massachusetts, the individual mandate is just part of the landscape,

At last. A Supreme Day in Court.

After a week of celebrating the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it is increasingly difficult to dismiss all the good that health reform is doing. Whether you are someone with a pre-existing condition who now has access to health insur

The Insider: I don’t even play one on T.V.

As the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments next week on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, most legal experts expect the court to uphold the law . I’m not a constitutional scholar or even a lawyer (and who knows what this court will do

The Insider: Second Anniversary Check-in on the ACA

With today’s blog we welcome back “The Insider,” Community Catalyst Policy Director Michael Miller, who will continue to provide an “inside out” perspective on major policy and political developments in the health policy arena. Though today’s blog is very

For Seniors the Affordable Care Act is the Gift that Keeps on Giving

This week marks the two year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. And, while we will devote plenty of space this week to highlighting the many successes of the ACA, we could think of no better place to begin than with the law’s benefits for seniors. Un

Deal on Medicare Physician Pay Leaves Clues to Future Debates

Last Friday, Congress reached an agreement on how to prevent a payroll tax increase on 160 million working Americans, preserve unemployment benefits for laid-off workers and also extend a number of expiring health care provisions, most visibly, deferring

Obama’s Budget: An Imperfect Reminder That We Can Cut Costs Without Undermining Care

President Obama released his 2013 budget proposal yesterday. In the short run, it’s a mere formality. With a divided Congress in an election year, Obama’s budget is dead on arrival. But our national conversation about entitlement reform is far from over,

Contraception Coverage: A Compromise That Protects Women

In the immortal words of “Say Anything’s” Lloyd Dobler, “I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen.” We were worried women were going to get pens this Valentine’s Day instead of a key improvement to health care they are set to receive under the Affordable Ca

Some Year-End Cheer

Many of us in the advocacy world have been quick to point out examples of things we’d rather re-gift this season. But, as the days start to get longer, it’s worth acknowledging a big win for consumers in 2011 – the preservation of the medical loss ratio

Sunshine in December: Modern Healthcare Goes Deep on Charity Care Spending as IRS Shores Up Future Reporting

Two important pieces of news on the health access and transparency front arrived in time for the holidays: Modern Healthcare’s analysis of non-profit hospital tax reports shows, for the first time ever , what hospitals spend nationally on charity care,

The Essential Health Benefits Bulletin: Happy Holidays?

Last Friday, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a bulletin, sub-regulatory guidance, on the essential health benefits (EHB) package. This highly anticipated guidance was a bit of a letdown—kind of like the ugly reinde

Congress’s Gifts: Coal and a Bit of Gold

Viewed through the lens of the approaching holidays, the spending bill Congress wrapped up last weekend is a mixed bag for the Affordable Care Act and other health programs. Overall, the big gift is that the major health care cuts House Republicans had pr

The Affordable Care Act is Keeping Young Adults Healthy for the Holidays

Thanks to a key provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), 2.5 million young adults will be healthy for the holidays this year. As we’ve blogged about previously, the ACA allows most young adults under 26 to remain on their parents’ health plans if they

Weakening Affordability Protections (Again): The Wrong Way to Pay for the Doc-Fix

Congress must act before the end of the year to prevent an automatic 27 percent rate cut for Medicare doctors (the “doc-fix”, as it is generally known in DC). To pay for it, some Republican Members of Congress are floating the idea of further eroding heal

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Disappointing New Federal Guidance on Health Insurance Exchanges

Earlier this week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued sub-regulatory guidance aimed at clarifying some of the outstanding questions related to implementing health insurance Exchanges as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). On

Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program Buffer the Impact of the Recession on Children

In most respects, children have not been exempt from the impacts of the current economic downturn. The number of children living in poverty in the United States rose to 15.7 million in 2010—a 19 percent increase from 2008. Despite this bleak picture, a ne

Super Committee Failure: It Could Have Been Worse!

Late Monday, the 12 members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (aka the “Super Committee”) announced their failure to agree to a debt-reduction package. How should consumer health advocates react to the news? A Plague on Only One of Your

First Quarter: Supreme Court Ready to Tackle the ACA

The awaited day is here. The Supreme Court announced that it will hear the case against the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual responsibility requirement (and other related requests). For those immersed in football season, this is the Super Bowl of le

Basic Health Program: Putting the “Affordable” in the Affordable Care Act

Last week, Community Catalyst submitted comments to HHS about the Basic Health Program (BHP) option in the Affordable Care Act (ACA.) While there are many reasons to be enthusiastic about BHP, its potential to dramatically lower health care costs for some

Medicaid and State Budgets: Same As It Ever Was?

Kaiser Family Foundation released a report last week, detailing results from a 50-state survey of Medicaid budgets. Kaiser’s results tell a classic story known as The Life and Times of a Countercyclical Program. Those of us who work in Medicaid policy hav

NAIC Commissioner’s Fall Back on Medical Loss Ratio

You know that expression, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me”? Well, it came to mind this past week at the National Association of Insurance Commissioner’s (NAIC) fall meeting in Washington, DC. Just as in March, during the NAIC’s spr

The Insider: News Round Up

File Under: “…and don’t let the door hit you on the way out” Recently, two Florida insurers announced their intention to quit the non-group health insurance market in that state. The state of Florida is trying to use the exit to bolster its case for a wai

IOM releases its long awaited EHB Guidance: Tough Medicine

As the Institute of Medicine (IOM) unveiled its report on Essential Health Benefits (EHB) on Friday, there were few surprises.  The panel delivered a high level outline for selecting benefits with a strong recommendation that cost consciousness be its gui

New Steps in the Fight Against Childhood Obesity

In the United States, childhood obesity is an epidemic. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that 17 percent of children between ages 2 to 19 are obese. CDC data also show that since 1980 the prevalence of obesity among

New Oral Health Study Reveals The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Truth When It Comes To Dental Care

Oral health advocates are trained to reinforce that oral health is essential to overall health. The good news is that a poll released today by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (conducted by Lake Research) found that 79 percent of survey respondents say that

Rate Review Round Two

Last month, we blogged about the start of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) rate review rules that oblige insurers asking for premium increases of 10 percent or more (for plans in the individual and small group markets) to publicly disclose and justify such

Health Exchanges: Federal, State, or a Partnership

Federal or state Exchange? The question of who should run the marketplace for individuals and small businesses to shop for and buy affordable, high quality insurance has been an ongoing debate in health reform circles for a number of years. And a main dec

Federal money well spent: grants to save money by promoting community health

All across the country, health officials are boasting about new federal grants, awarded yesterday, that will help them save money by improving the health of Americans. More than $100 million in Community Transformation Grants went to projects in 36 state

The Supremes: Coming to a Theater Near You?

Monday passed quietly with no sound of shuffling paper from the Department of Justice (DOJ) as they opted not to file a request for full review by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The 11th Circuit decision is the darling of the media due to its large 26

Following the Leaders: How Some Hospitals Use Community Benefit Programs to Address Health Equity

We’ve used this space to talk at some length about the shortcomings that follow from our “patchwork quilt” of state and federal standards for community benefit. Today, we’re taking a detour to talk about what’s right with community benefit—specifically, s

We Can Have Our Deficit Reduction and Keep Our Health Security Too

Yesterday, President Obama released a plan to reduce the deficit by more than $3 trillion over the next decade. It’s certainly not perfect, but his plan achieves these savings while largely protecting health security for the low-income families that rely

Administration Up 2-1 in ACA Court Challenges

The US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit released two opinions on Thursday in support of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), placing the Obama Administration ahead 2-1 in appellate rulings. The 4th Circuit rejected arguments from both Virginia and Liberty U

Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant: Bringing Transparency to Premium Increases

Going forward, health insurers will need to be more transparent and accountable than ever before when they seek large premium rate increases. This is because, as of today, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that insurers asking for premium increases o

Bundle of Hope?

Last week’s announcement by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation – a.k.a. The Innovation Center – about the launch of the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Initiative offers hope in the battle against out-of-control health care costs. Docto

States of Innovation 2

A Team Approach to Care As policymakers across the country look to balance their budgets, some are turning to Medicaid, recycling the same harmful policies they’ve used year-after-year: eliminating coverage for vulnerable Americans, restricting critical

Required Reading: A Gripping Behind-the-Scenes Look at ACA Passage

Inside National Health Reform by John McDonough is out on bookstore shelves. John, a longtime collaborator in efforts to improve health care in Massachusetts, brings his years as an organizer, legislator, professor, and head of Health Care For All (Massac

More Summer Sunshine: New Transparency Rules for Health Plans are a Win for Consumers

We got some good news last week from the Administration – new rules for individual and group health plans that require them to disclose critical information about their benefits and out-of-pocket costs. For many of us, this is sort of “ho-hum” news becaus

How the Affordable Care Act Helps Youth Aging Out of Foster Care

Mandatory Medicaid coverage for former foster care youth who have aged out of the foster care system but are in care as of their eighteenth birthday—an important provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that isn’t as widely known as it should be—is fina

ACA Opponents Grab a (Partial) 11th Circuit Win

In a 2-1 decision this past Friday, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta handed ACA opponents a partial victory and dealt a partial blow to the Obama Administration and ACA supporters. While the ruling is frustrating to those working tireless

Debt-Ceiling Compromise Kicks Medicaid Fight Down The Road

Yesterday, the president signed a bill that ended months of intense negotiations over lifting the country’s debt-ceiling. But for the fate of Medicaid – and the millions of seniors, people living with disabilities, and low-income children who rely on the

Another Historic Announcement Brought to You by the ACA

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new guidelines about women’s preventive health, and announced the services for women that insurance plans must cover without co-payments under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We first discus

The ACA – Working for Women

Women could start seeing some big advancements in preventive care services as part of the Affordable Care Act if the recommendations from Tuesday’s Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, Clinical Preventive Services for Women: Closing the Gaps, are accepted

Help Shape Health Equity Work

Consumer advocates have a new opportunity to influence regional work to strengthen health equity. This is your chance to make a difference! The Office of Minority Health in the federal Department of Health and Human Services is seeking nominations for 10

An IPAB By Any Other Name …

While there is widespread agreement that Medicare is on a runaway train to threatened bankruptcy , there is little agreement about how to put it back on track. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes many provisions aimed at containing Medicare costs – fr

6th Circuit Rattles the Right

In the highly-partisan political and legal battle over implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit offered America a glimmer of reason yesterday. A three-judge panel delivered a 2-1 ruling upholding the

Cross-Post: A Disappointing Rollback of Consumer Protections on Appeals

June 23, 2011 The Affordable Care Act (ACA) established many consumer protections, but it was only the first step.  As decisions are made about implementation and regulations, the need for consumer engagement is critical. As an example of where protection

Navigators: Charting the Course Through the Exchange

It seems like no matter where you turned this spring, everyone was talking about health insurance Exchanges. These competitive marketplaces for health insurance are intended to provide individuals, families and small businesses with better options and inf

Vermont Takes Steps Down the Single-Payer Path

Today, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed H.202 into law, which puts his state on a path toward creating the first single-payer health care system in the nation. H.202 was passed in Vermont with the strong support of both the House of Representatives (

On This Mother's Day, the Affordable Care Act Keeps Working for Our Children

Having celebrated Mother’s Day with my mom this past weekend, I know that despite leaving home over a decade ago, she’s still always looking out for me. And she is not alone. Moms (and dads, too) across the country are making sure their young adult childr

Save the Exchange!

States around the country have spent the last few months working hard to set up Health Insurance Exchanges – competitive health insurance marketplaces that help people compare and enroll in quality health insurance. However, over at the U.S. House of Repr

In Washington and Beyond, It’s Go Time for Keeping Hospital Patients Safe

“[The doctor] literally grabbed me by the hand and took me out into the hallway. He said, 'Your mother is very sick. Her health is failing.' I said, 'Sir, it’s not her blood levels. It’s whatever she has caught in this hospital.' He said to me, 'Look, do

A Tale of Two Deficit Reduction Approaches

In his speech on Wednesday, President Obama laid out his plan for deficit reduction, and last week, Congressional Republicans released their 2012 budget proposal. Both plans reduce federal expenditures on Medicare and Medicaid, but they take strikingly di

Protecting Prevention Funding Is Key to Controlling Health Costs

As House Republicans hammered away this week at federal spending, they took another whack at the Prevention and Public Health Fund. But if their goal is really saving money, they just hit their thumb instead of the proverbial nail. The Affordable Care Act

Obama's Speech Today: A Listeners Guide for Health Care Advocates

Later today when the President speaks about the national debt, what should health care advocates be expecting and hoping to hear? Given that long-term projections of rising public debt rest almost entirely on growth in health spending, we should expect at

A Government Shutdown of Women’s Health?

Since the new Congress came to Washington DC some Republicans in the House have been very concerned with women’s health care; however, not necessarily in a good way. In the last few months, the House Leadership has tried to eliminate funding for Title X,

Sliding further down a slippery slope: Congress weakens ACA affordability protections again

Earlier today, Congress approved a bill that reduces paperwork requirements on small businesses by repealing what’s known as the enhanced 1099 reporting requirements passed as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA.) Congress paid for this change by weakeni

An unexpected win for consumers at NAIC

There’s been lots of drama at this year’s first meeting of the NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners) in Austin, TX - way more than any of us consumer representatives to the NAIC expected. The good news, as you may have heard by now, is th

Affordable Care Act 1 Year Anniversary – Young People’s Care

To mark the first anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this week, Health Policy Hub will be cross posting blogs from our state partners that show how people in their states are benefiting from the law. Today’s blog will give you an on-the-ground l

Health reform makes for healthier women

To mark the first anniversary of the Affordable Care Act this week, Health Policy Hub will be cross posting blogs from our state partners that show how people in their states are benefiting from the law. This blog was originally posted on the Health Care

Yea ACA!

To mark the first anniversary of the Affordable Care Act this week, Health Policy Hub will be cross posting blogs from our state partners that show how people in their states are benefitting from the law. This blog was originally posted on the Pennsylvani

And we all March forward…

The Department of Justice, upon the request of Judge Roger Vinson, filed a request for an expedited appeal to the Eleventh circuit last Tuesday. This, in exchange for a clear issuing of a ‘stay’ from the Judge that requires states to continue implementati

The Insider: The Politics of State Flexibility

What’s behind the President’s embrace of state flexibility? President Obama surprised a lot of people, including, apparently, Congressional Democrats, when he came out in favor of moving up the date when states could seek “global waivers” under the Afford

Less pain, more gain: defining an alternative to harmful Medicaid cuts

(please note most links below are pdfs) On Friday, Community Catalyst sent a letter to Secretary Sebelius, outlining eight policies states could implement to cut Medicaid costs. We were inspired to weigh in by a series of letters between the Secretary and

Medicaid Gymnastics: You want state flexibility? I’ll show you state flexibility!

Secretary Sebelius sent a letter last week to state Governors outlining dozens of ways that states can trim costs in their Medicaid programs (see our summary here). Most of these policies were right on target. They take aim at our fragmented health care d

$25 Million to Tackle Childhood Obesity in Medicaid, CHIP, and Beyond

Many of you may recall that the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA) authorized childhood obesity demonstration grants aimed at developing an effective model for reducing obesity in children. Thanks to the Affordable Ca

Happy Second Anniversary, CHIPRA!

While the uninsurance rate for adults has risen in recent years, the opposite is true for children: fewer and fewer children are going without health care coverage. This steady decline in uninsured children is due in part to the fact that children’s publi

The Insider: Putting Things in Perspective

Putting the Florida Legal Ruling in Perspective The media is full of stories this morning about the ruling yesterday of Judge Vinson, not only that the Individual Responsibility Requirement (IRR) of the ACA is unconstitutional, but also that the entire la

The grants are coming! The grants are coming!

Word came last week from the Obama administration that the Community Transformation Grant program will begin “very soon,” despite the discussion of federal budget freezes. Speaking at the Families USA Health Action conference, an official said the adminis

The Insider: Wishful Thinking

Wishful Thinking Part One: The Vanishing Voter Mandate for Repeal After a pause to remember those who were killed or wounded in Tucson, Congress is set to resume work this week, and the first order of business is a House vote to repeal the Affordable Care

Choose Your Own Adventure: Possible Paths for ACA Legal Challenges

Please note this post was updated 1/5/2011 In the midst of all of the legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there may be a lack of clarity for the average person regarding how these lawsuits proceed. We thought that we would take a brief mome

Let's Have an "Adult Conversation" about Opting Out of Medicaid

This blog was originally posted here on the Center for Children and Families Say Ahhh! blog Just last August, Texas advocates chuckled and sighed along with our Arizona colleagues when the Onion ran the headline, "Texas Vows to Reclaim Title of Most Regre

Health Homes: Creating a Stronger Medicaid Program While Reducing Costs

Arizona’s decision to eliminate coverage for some heart, liver, lung, pancreas and bone marrow transplants has received a lot of attention because of its immediate life-and-death implications: potentially denying organs to 100 adults currently on the tran

No surprises. ACA opponents win over Virginia Judge

Of the fourteen plus lawsuits brought against the federal government challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), one has succeeded in winning the favor of a Virginia judge. Judge Henry Hudson of the US District Court for the Easter

Rate review: how states can help make health insurance more affordable

Thirty-nine percent increase in California. Fifty-six percent increase in Michigan. Forty-seven percent increase in Connecticut. Twenty-one percent increase in New Mexico. In recent years consumers have faced unprecedented hikes in their health insurance

Doc-Fix Dips Into Affordable Care Act Funding: The First Step on a Slippery Slope?

Earlier today, Congress passed a law to avert a scheduled 25 percent cut in Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors. While preventing those cuts is critical to ensuring access to needed care for America’s seniors, the way Congress paid for the “doc-fix”

What are AGs good for?

Beyond their traditional duties of legally representing state agencies and serving as an advisor to the Governor, state attorneys general over the last two decades have proven themselves defenders of everyday people in the name of the public good. One def

Mini Meds: The Insurance Industry Swindle

Is a few thousand dollars worth of health care coverage really insurance? Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) raised this question at a December 1 hearing appropriately entitled Are Mini-Med Policies Really Health Insurance? As chair of the Senate Commerce, Sc

The ACA brings a 21st Century Consumer-Centric Approach to Coverage Enrollment

Right now millions of people qualify for Medicaid and other public benefits but are not enrolled. Failure to modernize the outreach and enrollment process is a major reason why so many people are falling through the cracks of the health system. Banks have

Just the facts, MA’am

Massachusetts’ health reform law generated a great deal of attention during the debate on national health reform. As implementation of the new law moves forward, Massachusetts reform continues to remain in the spotlight, but not always in a good way. Affo

Exchanges and Advocates: Helping Your State Create a Successful Exchange

One of the most talked-about provisions in the Affordable Care Act is the creation of health insurance Exchanges to help people and small businesses get coverage. HHS recently released their Initial Guidance to States on Exchanges, which gives you the bas

The Insider: Health Reform and the Elections, part I

What happened... By now, no one needs a detailed recap of the election itself. Although Senate Democrats may have done a little better than expected, the U.S. House of Representatives made a major swing to the right, as did statehouses across the country.

Anti-ACA Ballot Measures: One, Two, Three? Not Quite

Citizens in three states cast their votes on anti-Affordable Care Act (ACA) ballot initiatives on Tuesday. All of the ballot measures presented citizens with an up or down vote on whether the state constitution should be amended to allow its citizens to l

Cross Post: Insurance Commissioners Respond to Consumer Concerns

This blog was originally posted on Say Ahhh! A Children's Health Policy Blog By now many of you have probably heard about the big news coming out of the NAIC meeting this week in Orlando. After seven months of intense debate and negotiation, the NAIC vot

Consumers Win on MLRs!

In the final showdown at the NAIC meeting, Insurance Commissioners listened to consumer advocates and took a firm stand on medical loss ratios (MLRs). After a furious week of lobbying by both the insurance industry and consumer advocates, the MLR definit

MLRs -- Going South?

Our sources at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) meeting in sunny Orlando sent an update on the storm brewing over the medical loss ratio (MLR) definition. For those of you new to MLRs, it’s been a long seven months for all of the

Consumer Assistance Programs grants, an important victory

Yesterday marked an important victory for health consumers and consumer advocates as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced nearly $30 million in grants to consumer assistance programs (CAPs) in 35 states, four territories and the Dis

Florida ruling swings pendulum toward Supreme Court

Yesterday, the federal judge in Florida, Roger Vinson, allowed the lawsuit against the new health law to go forward. In his ruling, the Judge maintained that there were constitutional issues in play and formal hearings would begin mid-December. Specifical

MI judge’s ruling swings the pendulum in favor of the individual mandate

A judge that upholds the legality of the individual mandate does exist! Yesterday, U.S. District Judge George Steeh dismissed the Thomas More Law Center’s central arguments against the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate and denied a requested injunc

The Insider: Cutting through the Chatter to Focus on What Matters

The ACA 6 month check up (the patient seems to be a little under the weather) This edition of the Insider is devoted to a high level overview of where reform stands politically at the six-month mark. As regular publication resumes, we’ll be digging into

Insurers behaving badly

You may have heard that many health insurers across the country (including several major insurers such as WellPoint, UnitedHealth Group, Aetna, Cigna, and Humana) have been announcing the discontinuation of new child-only policies. These are insurance pro

Six months in: The new health law gives us the key to better care

Our fourth post celebrating the six month anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. Six months ago today, the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. Since then, the new health law has offered some concrete advances, including some that go into effect toda

Tipping our caps to health care that lasts a lifetime

The third post in our series highlighting the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. Most of us don’t think much about the fine print in our health insurance, especially something like a lifetime cap on our benefits. But the majority of us – an estimated 55

Expanded Dependent Coverage Will Make a Difference

This is the second in a series of posts on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. As you’ve probably seen over the course of the last few days, in celebration of the six month mark since the signing of the Affordable Care Act, Community Catalyst is high

Takin’ it to the States

This week marks the six month milestone of the passage of the Affordable Care Act. This is the first in a series of posts on the benefits of the law for the public. It’s almost Sept. 23 – the six month milestone of the Affordable Care Act, and state advoc

Prevention Fund Saved!

Through the collective efforts of advocates of many different stripes across the country, we staved off an attempt yesterday to gut the new Prevention and Public Health Fund, a critical part of national health reform. An amendment from U.S. Senator Mike J

Florida’s McCollum gets his day in court

Despite taking a beating in the Florida Republican primary for Governor, Attorney General Bob McCollum(R) continues to pursue a legal strategy against the federal government. Hopeful that the nationwide legal strategy against health reform would win him t

Insurance-palooza - the NAIC National Meeting in Seattle

The Summer 2010 Meeting of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) in Seattle Washington wrapped up last week. For those of us not lucky enough to spend a long summer weekend with a group of insurance commissioners, some friends of Comm

Senate proposal would gut funding to make Americans healthier and reduce health disparities

Update: Due to response to this blog post, we would like to share additional information with those who are interested in signing-on to the letter. If you would like to sign-on, please contact Trust for America’s Health by e-mailing A s

The Insider: The Cost of Compromise

FMAP: Victory at a Price The Senate voted on Thursday to provide additional federal assistance to state Medicaid programs (and additional support for teachers to avoid layoffs) and the House followed suit today, but the price was high. After several attem

Three Cheers for Dependent Coverage Expansion!

While there are many provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that will benefit children and families, the expansion of dependent coverage to children up to age 26 is among the most important – especially in the short-term. In 2011 alone, as many as 1.

Cross Post: Consumer Assistance: A Guided Tour to Your New Health Care Choices

Everyone has heard about some aspect of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), however many people are still confused about the new law. At Community Catalyst, we think Consumer Assistance Programs (CAPs) are vital to ensuring people understand what the changing

Are we speaking the same language? The problem with medical jargon

Today, many families are struggling not only with the cost of and access to health care, but also with the quality of care they receive. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal, “Taking Medical Jargon Out of Doctor Visits”, articulates an incredibly i

Cross Post: A deeper look at health reform's individual responsibility requirement

Community Catalyst recently worked with our partner, Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families, to create a document answering prevalent questions about how the new mandate for insurance coverage will affect families. Here’s an excerpt from

Consumer Assistance: What makes health reform go

It’s no secret that the passage of the Affordable Care Act means lots of new opportunities for health care coverage and access – and that most Americans are confused about what the law actually means for them.  Here at Community Catalyst, we have seen hea

Websites like wine: good now, getting better

The web portal (@healthcaregov for all you twitterheads out there) went live, launching ahead of its July 1 deadline by hours Wednesday night. HHS deserves props for this site: not only was it delivered ahead of schedule, but it’s spiffy-lo

"Show me" gender equity!

Missouri is trying to remain true to its slogan, the "Show Me State," by helping lead the charge in anti-health reform legislation prohibiting abortion services for health insurance obtained through the exchange – (the term used for the health care insura

East Room Promises

I was invited to attend an event at the White House yesterday to commemorate the 90th day since President Obama signed health care reform into law, and it was a powerful event that underscored how much the law matters to American families. Following a pri

The Insider: All this could be yours someday

Fuzzy logic As the “tax extenders” bill makes its way through the Senate, a provision to extend COBRA premium subsidies for the unemployed is in jeopardy. Opponents in the Senate and the Blue Dogs in the House who stripped the provision from legislation t

Cross-coast Post: Real Choices

From our friends over at the Health Access Blog comes a great post about a California bill, SB890, that would implement many of the consumer protection pieces of national health reform early, like setting up strong medical loss ratios, so that insurers sp

Senate should restore COBRA and Medicaid subsidies

As we said Tuesday, the House removed provisions for federal Medicaid and COBRA subsidies from H.R. 4213, and the Senate departed for Memorial Day recess without taking action. The subsidies are critical to help hurting states that are struggling with bud

Implementation for Kids

Have you been wondering how health reform implementation will affect children’s health care programs? Are you looking for information on when changes to CHIP and Medicaid go into effect? Do you want to learn more about the new provision allowing young ad

The Insider: Last minute collapse on doc payments, Medicaid and COBRA subsidies a bad omen?

In the lead-up to passing the health reform law, Congress debated what to do about the Medicare physician payment problem.  Under current law, the formula for setting Medicare physician payment rates, known as the Sustainable Growth Rate, or SGR, will imp

The Insider: Proxy War

LINK FIXED Last week, we likened the low-visibility conflicts over regulatory measures to trench warfare. This week, the military metaphor of choice is proxy war. Republicans in the Senate are using the nomination of Dr. Donald Berwick to head the Centers

The AHA and charity care provisions: Against them before they were for them

Last week, we talked about the new requirements in national health reform for nonprofit hospitals to provide and make public charity care as a condition of their federal tax-exempt status: •    Having a written financial assistance policy that clearly sp

The Insider: Trench Warfare

While political and legal attempts to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act may draw the most attention, the real success or failure of the law will play out in hundreds of regulatory battles that will take place largely out of the public

The Insider: The Political Ecology of Health Reform Implementation

Throughout the debate on passage, pollsters regularly found that the public wanted a “bipartisan solution” to health reform. Of course, no such solution was forthcoming if by bipartisan we mean something that attracts votes from members of both parties. A

The Insider: Repeal Watch

With Enemies Like This, Who Needs Friends? As they tried to regain their footing after the surprise Senate election of Scott Brown, reformers received an unexpected boost from for-profit insurer Wellpoint. In February, the insurance giant announced it was

The Insider: Implementation Nation

Although the national media spotlight has moved on, the work of health care reform is only beginning. Today we  look at some of the recent developments in Massachusetts—which is sort of a health reform “beta site”—and what they tell us about reform in the

America needs better care!

Health reform is law. The hard work of fixing our health system begins now. That's the message of  Campaign for Better Care, a recently-launched effort to improve health care coordination and quality for people across the country. (Here’s the ad (pdf) tha

The Insider: Repeal vs. reality, PLUS the health reform deciders

Are the worms turning? While cries of repeal are still echoing in some quarters, doubt about the enterprise is beginning to seep through. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) has publicly argued that repeal is not realistic (later clarifying he meant as long as Obam

Health Reform Insider Goes to the Toast and Polls

President Obama signed the final piece of the health reform package today. So before we do anything else and get caught up in the next round of debate, here’s a toast to all those who have worked so hard over the past year to get us this far. And what goe

How sweet it is

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the most comprehensive health care bill since Medicare last night--a bill that provides health care coverage to 32 million more Americans, ends decades of unjust health insurance practices that discriminate against


I don't watch the show 24, but here at the Hub, I'm getting the idea. Health care reform in real time. The clock running down on the House vote. And for this blogger, not a whole lot of commercial breaks. Here is a summary of the bill, with a little discu

Land Ho!

After a stormy voyage of more than a year, this Monday morning finds the good ship health reform within sight of a final vote. The tentative timetable has a CBO score out today or tomorrow, Rules Committee action on Wednesday and a vote before the end of

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for

For months, various parties have been calling on the President to clarify exactly what he was for and, following the loss of a 60-vote majority in the Senate, how he thought that could be accomplished. Starting with the run-up to the Feb. 25 summit, Presi

One year on

A year ago today, President Obama gathered Congressional leaders, providers, advocates and industry leaders at the White House to start the conversation about health care reform. “The status quo is the one option that is not on the table,” he said then. A

The Point: The Incredible, Uncoverable Leg

In this installment of The Point, Hub blogger Kate Petersen's mother tells about her attempts to get both legs covered by a single health plan. Easy, you say... I am a speech and language pathologist in a public school system in Arizona. My husband is a r

UPDATE: You put the right bill in, you get the right vote out

(Please see corrected link below) It’s not about the process With the summit behind us, the press has returned to obsessing about (and misconstruing) the process by which health reform might move forward. So a few important clarifications are in order. Fi

Insider Update: Summing up the Summit

After seven hours of debate, parties agree to disagree on whether they are close to agreement As expected, no new consensus emerged yesterday from the seven plus hours of debate between top Congressional Democrats and Republicans and the President about w

State business, health care, labor and faith leaders call on Massachusetts delegation to pass national health care reform

A diverse group of leaders joined together in the Massachusetts State House today to deliver one message to the state’s delegation: National health care reform is anything but a raw deal for Massachusetts. The 16 speakers representing faith groups, advoca

Smokeout at Blair House (but will they serve BBQ?)

More Summit Surprises After surprising the political establishment by announcing a bipartisan health reform summit, the Obama administration continued to shape the debate with another surprise announcement late last week: In the summit invite, the adminis

What we talk about when we talk about Massachusetts

As we’ve said here before, the Senate special election in Massachusetts was a lot of things. One can probably find a hundred different explanations for why Scott Brown won in a hundred different bars on a given five o’clock (though we’re not advocating th

The Point

While we were encouraging folks to write letters to local newspapers, telling stories about what health care reform means for people they know, we realized each of us here knows someone who would be helped by health reform passing.  Who reminds us that wo

Health Care Surprise (but keep your eye on the prize)

Yesterday, in a surprise move to many (though apparently not to Majority Leader Reid or Speaker Pelosi, who immediately issued statements of support) President Obama invited Congressional leaders from both parties to a televised half-day health care refor

The Health Reform Insider

“Health reform is on life support unfortunately”—Sen. Mary Landrieu “The lady doth protest too much, methinks”—Gertrude in Hamlet “Reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated”—Mark Twain A lot of ink has been spilled over repeated pronouncements of those

Fighting the good fight: Two tools to help get reform done

Though health care reform has always been subject to the political tides, the political and legal challenges to reform legislation and its successful passage are rising. As supporters of reform who work with great advocates around the country,  we're risi

Insider Baseball: The Curse of the Bambino?

In Massachusetts, baseball and politics are both blood sports. On Tuesday, as the election results came in on who would fill the seat of the late Senator Kennedy, Red Sox fans who are also health reformers got that old unpleasant feeling they had back to

All eyes on Massachusetts

In what could be a strange and cruel irony, today’s special election to fill the late Senator Kennedy’s seat may deal a damaging blow to the prospects of passing a the bill that would culminate Kennedy’s life’s work in the Senate.  A surging Republican St


Exchanges are getting major play on the Hill and in the blogs this week, where the fight seems to be: Federal (as the House and White House propose), or State (as the Senate bill does)? While that’s certainly a question, we argue that perhaps that’s not t

Community Catalyst joins hundreds at Affordability Summit in DC

Maybe you were there? If not, see who was at PICO's flickr page and get the details right here. --Kate Petersen, Health Policy Hub

Health Reform and the Education of David Stockman

You have to be of a certain age to remember David Stockman (fame being fleeting and all).  Back in 1980, Stockman was a young conservative Congressman from Michigan, a true believer in supply side economics, who became Ronald Reagan’s first OMB Director. 

750 leaders call on Congress, President to make health reform affordable

Health care reform needs to be more affordable for low- and middle-income Americans. That's the message being sent today to Congress and President Obama by more than 750 local, state and national leaders including Community Catalyst. Read the letter here.

Of Doughnuts and Dragons: The Health Reform Insider

Though a series of critical votes happened in the last month, not to mention the holidays, the issues that define negotiations between the House and Senate remain largely the same (check out our list if you need a refresher). Here’s an update on a few of

$900 Billion is $900 Billion--or is it?

In his speech on September 9th, President Obama surprised listeners by declaring that health reform would not cost more than $900 billion. The President also committed to ensuring that the reform was fully paid for and would not add to the deficit. Prior

The dam breaks, PLUS the votes are in! The Insider's Naughty and Nice pol(e)

By reaching a compromise with Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) (we'll talk about how below), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has cleared the last major obstacle to historic passage of health reform in the U.S. Senate. If all goes according to plan, the Senate wil

The New Nattering Nabobs of Negativity

So Howard Dean has joined the ranks of liberals piling on health reform and encouraging lawmakers to toss in the towel. (See Kos and Firedoglake for more reform-flogging from the left.) Health reform does not succeed or fail by the public option, despite

Public Option Post-Mortem

The Huffington Post declared the public option's time of death as 11:12 on 12/10/09--the time of a press conference in which Nancy Pelosi signaled her willingness to entertain a bill without the provision.   If that was the technical time of death, what w

Consumers back amendment to end pharma sweetheart deals

A group of 33 major consumer and labor organizations from 14 states are calling on the Senate to take up a cost-savings measure that would help consumers get access to well-tested, fairly priced drugs by banning anti-competitive legal deals between brand-

Dental care for every community

Last week, the New York Times reported on the dire need to improve health care on Native American Tribal Lands. Unfortunately, one of the major components of overall health and the health care system was overlooked as part of the article – oral health and

Harry Reid's Flying Circus

Oops! Read the Public Option Post-Mortem and Dec. 14 Health Reform Insider here. And now for something completely different, Senator McCain proclaims himself a defender of Medicare The first week of Senate debate has seemed, at times, more like Monty Pyt

History lesson

When we talk about lessons learned, today’s health care reform efforts are often held up to the measuring stick of President Bill Clinton’s failed health reform proposal in 1993. But an earlier national reform experience—President Richard Nixon’s attempts

Immigration, Choice, and the Cost Containment Condundrum

Throughout the reform debate, a constellation of key issues—financing, affordability and the inclusion and design of a public insurance option—have been key focal points of discussion.  Now, as reform inches closer to the finish line, another set of issue

Historic House Call

On Saturday night, history knocked on the door of the U.S. House of Representatives and, by a slim margin, they agreed to answer. Two-hundred nineteen Democrats and one Republican, two more than the bare minimum needed for passage, voted in favor of the A

The elephants give birth to a mouse

At the last possible moment, House Republicans have unveiled their alternative health reform package. The proposal is a jumble of old ideas that does next to nothing to address the rising numbers of uninsured, provide health security to middle-income fami

218, that elusive magic number

House prepares to bring a strong reform package to the floor On Thursday, House leadership unveiled a strong health reform package and plans to begin debate on it late this week.  The House bill gelled in the middle of last week when leaders judged that a

Massachusetts as Model: the reasons you haven't heard

Over at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation blog, Community Catalyst director Robert Restuccia talks about some of the less obvious reasons Massachusetts is an important model for national health reform: Massachusetts as model -- it's a common claim in hea

Too bad they can't vote

A substantial and growing cadre of prominent Republicans have come out in favor of health reform recently. A partial list: former majority leaders Bob Dole, Howard Baker and Bill Frist (who this week disputed critics who claimed that Obama was promoting s

Last week, on 'As the Public Option Turns'

Insurance Industry Takes the Gloves Off While the insurance industry has been using “guerrilla” tactics behind the scenes to undermine aspects of health reform all along – opposing strong Exchanges, a decent minimum benefit standard and eliminating discri


So now we wait. The hurry-up-and-wait that has characterized Congress’s movement on health reform is par for the legislative course, especially a bill such as important and many-parted as health reform. But much of that waiting wasn’t on deliberations of

The Great Consensus Hunt: Search for a public option

Despite the support of many Senators, led by Sens. Rockefeller and Schumer, the effort to add a public option to the Senate Finance bill fell short.  Significant opposition from conservative Democrats both on and off the committee makes it hard to see how

Partly cloudy with a chance of Snowe

The Senate Finance Committee returns to its mark up today, and for health reform junkies, the number one spectator sport of the moment has become watching committee member Sen. Olympia Snowe’s every move like they were tea leaves to her votes. Over the co
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