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At Five Year Anniversary of the ACA, Gap Between Favorable and Unfavorable Views Among The Public Narrows to Smallest Spread in More Than Two Years

Most Expect Negative Consequences if Supreme Court Prohibits Subsidies in States Without Their Own Insurance Exchanges; Two Thirds of the Public and Those in Affected States Want Congress or Their State to Close Any Gaps As April 15 Tax Deadline Nears, Nearly Half Unaware Insurance Reporting Requirement Starts This Year…

Kaiser Health Policy News Index: April 2015

The health policy stories included in this month’s Kaiser Health Policy News Index were followed closely by about 4 in 10 Americans. Of the stories asked about this month, the one that garnered the most attention was coverage of the white police officer charged with the murder of an unarmed black man in South Carolina. Over half report closely following other stories, including the Germanwings plane crash in the French Alps, a new religious freedom law in Indiana that allows business owners to refuse service to gay customers, negotiations over Iran’s Nuclear Program, and a terrorist attack by Islamic militants at a university in Kenya. The only non-health story to receive less attention than the health stories this month was coverage of the Congressional Republican budget proposals, followed closely by just over a third of the public.

Evolving Picture of Nine Safety-Net Hospitals: Implications of the ACA and Other Strategies

Safety-net hospitals are an integral part of the U.S. health care landscape, providing care to some of the nation’s most medically vulnerable populations, including Medicaid enrollees and the uninsured. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the U.S. health care system is rapidly changing, and safety-net hospitals need to make major adjustments to survive in the post-reform environment. This brief draws on interviews with executives at nine safety-net hospital systems and examines how their hospitals have fared since major coverage provisions of the ACA came into effect in January 2014. The brief also examines new and ongoing strategies that the hospitals are adopting in the face of a quickly changing health care environment. While acknowledging the importance of the ACA, executives at each system in the study noted that other non-ACA related factors have also shaped how their hospitals fared over the last year. The hospitals in the study were: Cook County Health and Hospital System (CCHHS); Denver Health (Denver Health); Harris Health System (Harris Health); New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC); Parkland Health and Hospital System (Parkland); Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital System (SCVHHS); San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH); University Medical Center of Southern Nevada (UMC), and Virginia Commonwealth University Health System (VCU). These hospitals participated in two earlier related studies that examined how the systems were preparing for health care reform.

An Overview of Actions Taken by State Lawmakers Regarding the Medicaid Expansion

The ACA Medicaid expansion has garnered different responses from statelawmakers – Democratics and Republicans as well as governors and legislatures. While it does not cover how every state has enacted the ACA Medicaid expansion, this fact sheet highlights some of the different actions state lawmakers have taken in response to the ACA Medicaid expansion.

ACA 101: What You Need To Know

On Friday, March 6, 2014, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Alliance for Health Reform hosted an ACA 101 briefing on the Affordable Care Act. The briefing took place just as the second marketplace enrollment period ended, and the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case challenging the ACA’s subsidies (King v Burwell).

The Effects of the Medicaid Expansion on State Budgets: An Early Look in Select States

This brief examines the early state budget effects of the ACA Medicaid expansion in three states: Connecticut, New Mexico, and Washington State. States were asked about savings and costs in Medicaid, behavioral health, corrections, uncompensated care spending, etc. as well as revenues. Findings from a study looking at Kentucky are also included.

Health-Care Deductibles Climbing Out of Reach 

In his latest column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman explores the trend of higher deductibles in health plans and discusses a new analysis showing that many people with insurance don’t have sufficient financial resources to pay a mid- or high-range deductible. All previous columns by Drew…

Explaining the 2015 Open Enrollment Period

The brief provides an overview of what consumers can expect during the second annual Open Enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which runs from November 15, 2014 through February 15, 2015. It is the second opportunity for uninsured individuals to enroll in private insurance coverage, premium tax credits and cost sharing subsidies and the first time that people newly insured in 2014 can renew their health plan coverage and subsidies. It also overlaps with the start of the tax filing season, during which subsidized individuals will undergo tax reconciliation of their 2014 financial assistance and the individual responsibility provisions of the ACA will be enforced.

Health Insurance Explained: The YouToons Have it Covered

In this five-minute animated video, the YouToons help consumers understand their health insurance through fun, easy-to-understand explanations and scenarios. This cartoon serves as a tutorial for consumers and organizations. The YouToons previously appeared in the 2010 animated movie, “Health Reform Hits Main Street” and the 2013, “The YouToons Get Ready for Obamacare: Health Insurance Changes Coming Your Way Under the Affordable Care Act.”