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Past Briefings

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The following is a list of all previous briefings for the year 2015. For briefings from other years, select from the list below.

Empowering the Consumer as the Ultimate Health Care Stakeholder
Friday, July 24, 2015

This briefing, the first in a two-part series on the role of consumers and patients in our health care system, will discuss the role of consumers in today’s health care coverage market, exploring questions such as: How is the evolving insurance marketplace affecting the choices consumers have when selecting a health plan, whether through a health insurance exchange, employer, or other mechanism? What information do consumers need to select a plan that is right for them? Are consumers well informed regarding health insurance matters, and do they know how to make use of their coverage once they have it?

The ACA: Experiences in Health Care Coverage and Access
Wednesday, July 01, 2015

In advance of the third open enrollment period for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, this briefing examined coverage trends, who has gained coverage and who remains uninsured, and why those uninsured individuals have not obtained coverage.

Workplace Wellness: Promises, Challenges, and Legal Questions
Monday, June 22, 2015

Employers have long been advancing a variety of efforts to engage their employees in their health care, reduce absenteeism, and decrease the cost of employee health benefits. Recently, however, some employer wellness programs offering significant incentives for participation--or penalties for nonparticipation--have raised legal issues regarding privacy and discrimination and are the subject of a recent proposed rule from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The Evolving Coverage Landscape for Small Businesses: Opportunities and Challenges
Friday, June 12, 2015

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) created new health insurance marketplaces for small businesses, known as Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) marketplaces, and made substantial changes to the regulation of health insurance for small businesses. For purposes of health insurance regulation, small businesses have traditionally been defined by states as businesses with up to 50 employees. The ACA defined the small group market as employers with 1-100 employees, while allowing states to limit small group participation to employers with 50 or fewer workers from 2014 through 2016. Every state chose to do so, but, for plan years beginning in 2016, the definition of small business is set to expand to include those with 100 or fewer employees—with potentially significant consequences for the small group health insurance market and the SHOP marketplaces.

King v. Burwell: The Facts and Implications
Friday, June 05, 2015

This briefing told you what you need to know about a major Supreme Court challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Court is expected to make a decision in June, and a ruling for the King petitioners could mean that individuals will no longer be able to receive subsidies to purchase health insurance through the federal marketplace. The federal government is operating insurance marketplaces in more than 30 states. Currently, subsidies to buy health insurance are available to individuals with incomes between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level (i.e., those with annual incomes between $11,770 and $47,080).

Biosimilars in the U.S.: Current & Emerging Issues
Wednesday, May 20, 2015

With Congress focused intently on the discovery, development, and delivery pipeline for innovative drugs and devices – and in the wake of the first-ever U.S. approval of a biosimilar medication– key policy and regulatory questions are being actively debated, with important implications for industry, patients, and the health care system.

Issues and Future Directions for Medicare
Friday, May 15, 2015

Per capita spending growth in Medicare has slowed over the last few years, although economists disagree about whether that trend will continue. Meanwhile, the number of Medicare beneficiaries continues to increase. Medicare has made systematic changes over the course of its first 50 years, addressing everything from benefits and eligibility to quality of care measurement and provider payment.

Improving Health Care Delivery: Innovation in the Private and Public Sectors
Friday, April 24, 2015

This event examined innovative efforts in both the private and public sectors to move toward a health system that is more patient-centered, cost-efficient and delivers better outcomes. It will address efforts underway at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) and other federal agencies to spur innovation and prioritize a shift toward higher quality care, as well as the progress made by the private sector in improving quality and reducing costs through innovation.

Health Care Costs: What You Need to Know
Wednesday, April 01, 2015

The briefing explored the trends in health care costs in both the public and private sectors. It will explain recent moderate growth rates, along with possible reasons and prospects for the future. This session will be especially helpful to congressional staff members new to the issue, but it will also be a useful review for anyone working on health care policy.

Medicare 101: What You Need to Know
Friday, March 27, 2015

Medicare provides health insurance coverage to 54 million people aged 65 and over and younger people with permanent disabilities. In 2013, Medicare spending accounted for 14 percent of the federal budget.

Medicaid 101: What You Need to Know
Friday, March 20, 2015

With some states grappling over whether to expand Medicaid, and Congress facing big decisions about the future of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), this briefing reviewed the basics about both programs and discuss current issues.

Chronic Care Management: Is Medicare Advantage Leading the Way?
Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Efforts are underway throughout the Medicare program to better manage beneficiaries’ chronic conditions, with the goal of improving quality and lowering the costs of care. With an estimated 31 million Medicare beneficiaries suffering from a chronic condition such as cardiovascular disorders, diabetes and cancer, many still do not receive the coordinated services they need to manage their chronic conditions, and beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions incur higher-than-average spending. However, traditional fee-for-service Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and newer models such as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) differ in the tools and methods available to manage chronic care.

ACA 101: What You Need to Know
Friday, March 06, 2015

This session was especially helpful to congressional staff members new to the issue, but is also a useful review for anyone dealing with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The briefing took place just as the second marketplace enrollment period ended and the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case challenging the law’s subsidies.

Preparing the Nursing Workforce for a Changing Health System: The Role of Graduate Nursing Education
Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The nursing profession, with nearly 3 million licensed and practicing nurses in the U.S., comprises the largest segment of the nation’s health care workforce. There is consensus among experts that nursing education should be modernized to train a greater percentage of nurses at the graduate level and provide the skills nurses need as today’s health care delivery system continues to evolve towards more team-based, data-driven, and coordinated care. What does the nursing workforce look like now, and how does it need to change to meet current and future health needs in the U.S.? How are nursing education and training currently financed? What is the role of federal policy in training a 21st century nursing workforce? How does the nursing workforce fit into today’s primary care workforce and the evolving health care delivery system?

AHCJ San Francisco
Wednesday, January 21, 2015

With the ACA’s second enrollment period underway, health plans are increasingly offering consumers networks that exclude certain doctors, hospitals and other medical providers. Several court cases against insurers are now pending in California. Some claim that these networks hamper provider access and choice; others contend that this approach, if done the right way, helps consumers by creating competition and controlling costs, without compromising the quality of care.

 

Toolkit: Emergency Preparedness in the U.S.: The Ebola Threat


Is the U.S. prepared for a potential virulent pandemic? This new Alliance toolkit examines public health infrastructure, funding and policy levers that deal with these kinds of health crises in America.

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Mike Leavitt Video: Consolidation and Control-The Evolving Health Care System


Mike Leavitt, chairman of Leavitt Partners and former HHS secretary, addresses the aggressive repositioning of players in the evolving health care system in a new Alliance for Health Reform video.

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The Outlook for Health Insurance Subsidies


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Telemedicine Toolkit: The Promise and Challenges


The integration of technology and health care is on the rise. Although evidence shows that telemedicine has improved access to health care and resulted in lower costs in rural and underserved areas, challenges to expansion include reimbursement policies and acceptable security measures. A new Alliance for Health Reform Toolkit, “Telemedicine: The Promise and Challenges,” addresses the effectiveness of telemedicine as a tool for communication, as well as the expected outcomes and challenges ahead.

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King v. Burwell Toolkit: To Subsidize or Not to Subsidize


A new Alliance for Health Reform toolkit, "To Subsidize or Not to Subsidize: King v. Burwell," will help you prepare for and understand the Supreme Court’s King v. Burwell decision, which could come as early as Friday. A major challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is before the Supreme Court, which is expected to make a decision in the King v. Burwell case by the end of its term in June 2015. The case concerns the legality of health insurance tax credits offered through a federally run health insurance marketplace, as opposed to a marketplace established by an individual state.

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Toolkit on Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS)


The aging of the baby boomers and the increase in the number of old-old persons (those 85 and older) are predictors for the increasing need for long-term services and supports (LTSS). Among persons age 65 and over, an estimated 70 percent will use LTSS. A new Alliance for Health Reform toolkit, “Long-Term Services and Supports: Changes and Challenges in Financing and Delivery,” provides a background on LTSS and discusses policy issues surrounding the topic.

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