Implementing the coverage provisions of health care reform : what’s at stake for direct care workers

Source: Shawn Fremstad, Direct Care Alliance, Inc., Policy Brief, no. 7, January 2011

This policy brief details the key coverage-related provisions of health reform, and discusses steps that direct care workers, direct care associations, and others can take to ensure that the coverage provisions of health reform are implemented in ways that work for direct care workers and employers. Direct care workers have a vital role to play in the implementation process, and may want to advocate for the following:

– a state advisory committee on health reform implementation that includes direct care workers;
– that states take full advantage of new options in the law to streamline eligibility for Medicaid and subsidies for purchasing health care coverage in the exchange;
– the implementation of the Basic Health Plan option for residents with incomes below 200 percent of the poverty line;
– the establishment of a publicly administered health plan to compete in the exchange; and
– the use of federal grants to fund and strengthen independent and effective Consumer Assistance Programs to help consumers navigate the new system.

These recommendations are explained in more detail later in this policy brief. Health reform also includes important provisions related to health care workforce development, long-term care insurance, public health, prevention and many other health-related issues. Although not discussed in this brief, many of these provisions are relevant to direct care workers.

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