Category Archives: Health Reform

CLASS: A New Voluntary Long-Term Care Insurance Program

Source: Paul N. Van de Water, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, April 16, 2010

From the summary:
The new health reform law establishes a federal, voluntary long-term care insurance program, known as Community Living Assistance Services and Supports, or CLASS. This brief paper describes the need for CLASS, explains its benefits and financing, and corrects some misconceptions about the program’s effect on the federal budget.

Conditional Taxation and the Constitutionality of Health Care Reform

Source: Brian D. Galle, Yale Law Journal Online, Forthcoming (2010)

From the abstract:
This brief essay argues that the recently-enacted tax on individuals who fail to purchase health insurance is constitutional. Contrary to the claims of more than a dozen state Attorneys General, this “individual responsibility” requirement is well within Congress’ taxing power under Article I, section 8. That the tax has a regulatory purpose is irrelevant, a point that has been settled law since at least 1953. Moreover, the tax is not subject to the constitutional requirement that “direct” taxes be apportioned, because (1) it is an income tax, and thus exempted from apportionment by the 16th Amendment; (2) even if not an income tax, it is nonetheless an indirect tax, since it is a tax on a particular use of property or government services; and (3) it is an indirect tax because it is not reasonably capable of apportionment.

What Will Happen Under Health Reform–And What’s Next? A Resource for Journalists from The Commonwealth Fund

Source: Commonwealth Fund, Columbia Journalism Review, May 2010 supplement

From the summary:
This supplement to the May/June 2010 issue of the Columbia Journalism Review serves as a resource for journalists from The Commonwealth Fund.

Newly enacted national health reform will begin, almost immediately, to transform the U.S. health care system in ways large and small. The changes will increase the number of people with health insurance, and affect how many of us obtain coverage, how care is paid for and delivered, and how it is regulated. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 preserves the current private-public system of employer-based coverage, Medicare, and Medicaid and creates income-based subsidies to make coverage affordable to low- and middle-income families without employer coverage.

Near-Term Changes In Health Insurance

Source: Amanda Cassidy, Health Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Health Policy Brief, April 30, 2010

From the summary:
Newly enacted health reform legislation mandates dozens of health insurance changes. Many go into effect this year and next.

In March 2010, Congress enacted substantial health reform measures intended to increase access to affordable insurance, reduce the number of uninsured people, and reform both the health insurance market and the health care delivery system. The lion’s share of these reforms will take effect in 2014. However, some reforms go into ef­fect well before that time.

This new policy brief from Health Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the near-term effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are examined and enumerated, providing context for key immediate reforms to the private health insurance market that will take effect in 2010 and 2011.

Health Reform GPS

Source: Hirsh Health Law and Policy program of the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2010

Welcome to Health Reform GPS, a joint project of the Hirsh Health Law and Policy program of the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The purpose of this web site is to track health reform from enactment through implementation, through notes, expert and public commentary and key documents. This site will grow and expand as the legislation and its implementation unfolds.

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Summary of Provisions Affecting Employer-Sponsored Insurance

Source: Center for Labor Research and Education, University of California Berkeley, April 2010

This summary addresses common questions from unions and employers about the impact that the federal health reform law will have on employer-sponsored insurance.

See also:
Summary of Health Care Reform Legislation Provisions Affecting Children, Non-Elderly Adults and Employers
Calculator: How Much Would a Family Spend Under the President’s Health Reform Proposal?
The National Health Care Debate: What is being proposed and what does it mean for union members?

Hospital Cost of Care, Quality of Care, and Readmission Rates – Penny Wise and Pound Foolish?

Source: Lena M. Chen, Ashish K. Jha, Stuart Guterman, Abigail B. Ridgway, E. John Orav, Arnold M. Epstein, Archives of Internal Medicine, Vol. 170 no. 4, 2010
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Background: Hospitals face increasing pressure to lower cost of care while improving quality of care. It is unclear if efforts to reduce hospital cost of care will adversely affect quality of care or increase downstream inpatient cost of care.

Conclusions: The associations are inconsistent between hospitals’ cost of care and quality of care and between hospitals’ cost of care and mortality rates. Most evidence did not support the “penny wise and pound foolish” hypothesis that low-cost hospitals discharge patients earlier but have higher readmission rates and greater downstream inpatient cost of care.
See also:
Decreasing Hospital Costs While Maintaining Quality: Can It Be Done?

The Costs of Failure: Economic Consequences of Failure to Enact Nixon, Carter, and Clinton Health Reforms

Source: Karen Davis, Kristof Stremikis, Commonwealth Fund Blog, December 21, 2009

The U.S. Congress is on the threshold of historic change that will usher in a new era in American health care. In the last 50 years, three presidents–Nixon, Carter, and Clinton–have made a serious effort to enact reform and failed. The nation simply can not afford to fail again–too much is at stake for those Americans who fail to get the life-saving care they need and for those who pay the bills of ever-rising cost of health care. History makes clear that failing to act on health reform has serious and far-reaching economic ramifications. An examination of trends in health spending over the past 50 years shows that if health reform measures proposed by previous presidents had been enacted and slowed the growth in spending by as little as 1.0 or 1.5 percentage points annually, spending trends in the U.S. would have been closer to those seen in other major industrialized countries and fewer adverse health consequences and economic burdens would have been borne by American families, businesses, and government.
See also:

Making Health Reform More Affordable for Working Families: The Effect of Employee Choice Vouchers Timely Analysis of Immediate Health Policy Issues

Source: Matthew Buettgens and Linda J. Blumberg, Urban Institute, February 2010

From a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation summary:
Many low-income workers would be prevented from accessing subsidies under current health reform proposals if they are offered employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI). Thus, some low-income families would not benefit from the reforms as much as others.