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Pulling It Together: Implementation Is Forever

Now that historic health reform legislation is law, everyone is rightfully focused on implementation. There are two very different ways to look at implementation. One is the more legalistic worm’s eye view, which sees implementation largely as the process of putting into effect what was written in the law. In…

Pulling It Together: Keeping the Health Reform Coalition Together

We could be headed for a new schism in the debate about health reform. Not the familiar gulf between advocates of the market and government, or the predictable one between deficit hawks and spenders, but a new one that crosses traditional partisan and ideological lines between advocates of long-term reform of the health care delivery…

Pulling It Together: A Public Opinion Surprise

Medicaid is the nation’s primary health insurance program for low-income people and people with disabilities, covering more than 60 million people this year.  And it’s about to get a lot of attention: it’s likely to be a prime target for spending reductions by “deficit hawks” in debate over the budget;…

Pulling It Together: Medicare, Medicaid, and The Multiplier Effect

We are witnessing a battle in Washington right now about the future of health care’s two big public programs, Medicare and Medicaid. It’s a budget battle, it’s an ideological battle, it’s a partisan political battle, and while it might not always be obvious following the debate, it’s a high stakes…

Pulling It Together: Predictions

I usually don’t make predictions, unless they are backed up by the kind of statistical modeling we often produce.  But here are three predictions I am confident about that form the basis of this latest column. GROUP HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS WILL CONTINUE TO RISE AT HISTORICALLY MODERATE LEVELS, AT LEAST…

Pulling it Together: An Actuarial Rorschach Test

Drew Altman, Larry Levitt, Gary Claxton My colleagues have worked on this column with me and I invited them to join me as authors. As with pretty much every other discussion of health care going back to the days of Roosevelt, the great reform debate of 2009 (and now 2010)…

Questions About Essential Health Benefits

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recently issued its long-awaited report on defining the essential health benefits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As expected, the committee preparing the IOM report did not recommend which specific services should be covered, but rather discussed what the process should be for defining the essential benefits,…

The Budget Trigger and Health Reform

No doubt it will take some time to sort out how elements of the debt deal (formally “The Budget Control Act of 2011”) will all work. Delving into the details of how it affects subsidies in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to make insurance more affordable helps to illustrate how…

The Public, Health Care Reform, and Views on Repeal

With the U.S. House of Representatives scheduled to vote on repeal of the health reform law next week, the latest Kaiser Family Foundation data note revisits some recent public opinion findings on the topic. Kaiser’s December Health Tracking Poll found the public divided on the question of repeal: one in…

What Do They Mean When They Talk About Pre-Existing Health Conditions?

One health care issue about which the presidential candidates acknowledge they have differences is how the health care system should treat people with pre-existing health conditions. People who have a health condition (such as an illness or pregnancy) or who are at higher than average risk of needing health care…

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