In the transition from a planned economy to a market-oriented economy, China’s state funding for health care declined and traditional coverage plans collapsed, leaving China’s poor exposed to potentially ruinous health care costs. In reforming health care for the 21st century, equity in health care financing has become a major policy goal. To assess progress towards this goal, this paper examines the equity characteristics of health care financing in a province of northwestern China, comparing the equity performance between urban and rural areas at two different points in time.
Analysis of whether health care financing contributions were progressive according to income were made using the Kakwani index for each of the four health care financing channels of general taxes, public and private health insurance, and out-of-pocket payments. Two rounds of surveys were conducted, the first in 2003 (13,619 individuals in 3946 households) and the second in 2008 (12,973 individuals in 3958 households). Household socio-economic, health care payment, and utilization information were recorded in household interviews.
Low-income households have undertaken a larger share of the health care financing burden in recent years, reflected by negative Kakwani indices, which indicate a regressive system. We found that the indices for general taxation were −0.0024 (urban) and −0.0281 (rural) in 2002, and −0.0177 (urban) and −0.0097 (rural) in 2007. Public health insurance presented different financing distributions in urban and rural areas (urban: 0.0742 in 2002, 0.0661 in 2007; rural: –0.0615 in 2002,–0.1436 in 2007.). Out-of-pocket payments were progressive but not equitable. Public health insurance coverage has expanded but financing equity has decreased.
Health care financing policies in China need ongoing reform. Given the inequity of general consumption taxes, elimination of these would improve financing equity considerably. Optimizing benefit packages in public health insurance is as important as expanding coverage, both for health care financing and for utilization management as well. Although they are progressive, out-of-pocket payments are not equitable in China and have the effect of excluding the poor from health care as they cannot afford to pay for medical care and so withdraw from treatment.
Equity; Chinese health care reform; Financing; Kakwani index
Uganda is proposing introduction of the National Health Insurance scheme (NHIS) in a phased manner with the view to obtaining additional funding for the health sector and promoting financial risk protection. In this paper, we have assessed the proposed NHIS from an equity perspective, exploring the extent to which NHIS would improve existing disparities in the health sector.
We reviewed the proposed design and other relevant documents that enhanced our understanding of contextual issues. We used the Kutzin and fair financing frameworks to critically assess the impact of NHIS on overall equity in financing in Uganda.
The introduction of NHIS is being proposed against the backdrop of inequalities in the distribution of health system inputs between rural and urban areas, different levels of care and geographic areas. In this assessment, we find that gradual implementation of NHIS will result in low coverage initially, which might pose a challenge for effective management of the scheme. The process for accreditation of service providers during the first phase is not explicit on how it will ensure that a two-tier service provision arrangement does not emerge to cater for different types of patients. If the proposed fee-for-service mechanism of reimbursing providers is pursued, utilisation patterns will determine how resources are allocated. This implies that equity in resource allocation will be determined by the distribution of accredited providers, and checks put in place to prohibit frivolous use. The current design does not explicitly mention how these two issues will be tackled. Lastly, there is no clarity on how the NHIS will fit into, and integrate within existing financing mechanisms.
Under the current NHIS design, the initial low coverage in the first years will inhibit optimal achievement of the important equity characteristics of pooling, cross-subsidisation and financial protection. Depending on the distribution of accredited providers and utilisation patterns, the NHIS could worsen existing disparities in access to services, given the fee-for-service reimbursement mechanisms currently proposed. Lastly, if equity in financing and resource allocation are not explicit objectives of the NHIS, it might inadvertently worsen the existing disparities in service provision.
In this paper, we use publicly available data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey - Insurance Component (MEPS-IC) to investigate the effect of Massachusetts’ health reform plan on employer-sponsored insurance premiums. We tabulate premium growth for private-sector employers in Massachusetts and the United States as a whole for 2004 – 2008. We estimate the effect of the plan as the difference in premium growth between Massachusetts and the United States between 2006 and 2008—that is, before versus after the plan—over and above the difference in premium growth for 2004 to 2006. We find that health reform in Massachusetts increased single-coverage employer-sponsored insurance premiums by about 6 percent, or $262. Although our research design has important limitations, it does suggest that policy makers should be concerned about the consequences of health reform for the cost of private insurance.
The Australian federal government introduced private health insurance incentive policy reforms in 2000 that increased the uptake of private health insurance in Australia. There is currently a lack of evidence on the effect of the policy reforms on access to cardiovascular interventions in public and private hospitals in Australia. The aim was to investigate whether the increased private health insurance uptake influenced trends in emergency and elective coronary artery revascularisation procedures (CARPs) for private and public patients.
We included 34,423 incident CARPs from Western Australia during 1995-2008 in this study. Rates of emergency and elective CARPs were stratified for publicly and privately funded patients. The average annual percent change (AAPC) in trend was calculated before and after 2000 using joinpoint regression.
The rate of emergency CARPs, which were predominantly percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs) with stenting, increased throughout the study period for both public and private patients (AAPC=12.9%, 95% CI=5.0,22.0 and 14.1%, 95% CI=9.8,18.6, respectively) with no significant difference in trends before and after policy implementation. The rate of elective PCIs with stenting from 2000 onwards remained relatively stable for public patients (AAPC=−6.0, 95% C= −16.9,6.4), but increased by 4.1% on average annually (95% CI=1.8,6.3) for private patients (pdifference=0.04 between groups). This rate increase for private patients was only seen in people aged over 65 years and people residing in high socioeconomic areas.
The private health insurance incentive policy reforms are a likely contributing factor in the shift in 2000 from public to privately-funded elective PCIs with stenting. These reforms as well as the increasing number of private hospitals may have been successful in increasing the availability of publicly-funded beds since 2000.
Health insurance; Coronary artery disease; Revascularisation procedures; Health policy
In 1997 there was a major reform of the government run urban health insurance system in China. The principal aims of the reform were to widen coverage of health insurance for the urban employed and contain medical costs. Following this reform there has been a transition from the dual system of the Government Insurance Scheme (GIS) and Labour Insurance Scheme (LIS) to the new Urban Employee Basic Health Insurance Scheme (BHIS).
This paper uses data from the National Health Services Surveys of 1998 and 2003 to examine the impact of the reform on population coverage. Particular attention is paid to coverage in terms of gender, age, employment status, and income levels. Following a description of the data between the two years, the paper will discuss the relationship between the insurance reform and the growing inequities in population coverage.
An examination of the data reveals a number of key points:
a) The overall coverage of the newly established scheme has decreased from 1998 to 2003.
b) The proportion of the urban population without any type of health insurance arrangement remained almost the same between 1998 and 2003 in spite of the aim of the 1997 reform to increase the population coverage.
c) Higher levels of participation in mainstream insurance schemes (i.e. GIS-LIS and BHIS) were identified among older age groups, males and high income groups. In some cases, the inequities in the system are increasing.
d) There has been an increase in coverage of the urban population by non-mainstream health insurance schemes, including non-commercial and commercial ones.
The paper discusses three important issues in relation to urban insurance coverage: institutional diversity in the forms of insurance, labour force policy and the non-mainstream forms of commercial and non-commercial forms of insurance.
The paper concludes that the huge economic development and expansion has not resulted in a reduced disparity in health insurance coverage, and that limited cross-group subsidy and regional inequality is possible. Unless effective measures are taken, vulnerable groups such as women, low income groups, employees based on short-term contracts and rural-urban migrant workers may well be left out of sharing the social and economic development.
America's health care system is characterized by rising costs, increasing numbers of Americans who lack health insurance coverage, and poor quality of health care delivery. The convergence of these factors is adversely affecting not only the health of Americans but also the ability of businesses to compete successfully in a global marketplace. AARP and other nonprofit organizations are collaborating with the private sector to have more people covered by health insurance and to educate them to make behavioral choices that prevent chronic disease and ultimately lower costs.
Massachusetts health reform has achieved near-universal insurance coverage, yet little is known about the effects of this legislation on disparities.
Since racial/ethnic minorities and low-income individuals are over-represented among the uninsured, we assessed the effects of health reform on disparities.
Cross-sectional survey data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS), 2006–2008.
Adults from Massachusetts (n = 36,505) and other New England states (n = 63,263).
Self-reported health coverage, inability to obtain care due to cost, access to a personal doctor, and health status. To control for trends unrelated to reform, we compared adults in Massachusetts to those in all other New England states using multivariate logistic regression models to calculate adjusted predicted probabilities.
Overall, the adjusted predicted probability of health coverage in Massachusetts rose from 94.7% in 2006 to 97.7% in 2008, whereas coverage in New England remained around 92% (p < 0.001 for difference-in-difference). While cost-related barriers were reduced in Massachusetts, there were no improvements in access to a personal doctor or health status. Although there were improvements in coverage and cost-related barriers for some disadvantaged groups relative to trends in New England, there was no narrowing of disparities in large part because of comparable or larger improvements among whites and the non-poor.
Achieving equity in health and health care may require additional focused intervention beyond health reform.
health coverage; health care reform; Massachusetts
In Finland, dental services are provided by a public (PDS) and a private sector. In the past, children, young adults and special needs groups were entitled to care and treatment from the public dental services (PDS). A major reform in 2001 – 2002 opened the PDS and extended subsidies for private dental services to all adults. It aimed to increase equity by improving adults' access to oral health care and reducing cost barriers. The aim of this study was to assess the impacts of the reform on the utilization of publicly funded and private dental services, numbers and distribution of personnel and costs in 2000 and in 2004, before and after the oral health care reform. An evaluation was made of how the health political goals of the reform: integrating oral health care into general health care, improving adults' access to care and lowering cost barriers had been fulfilled during the study period.
National registers were used as data sources for the study. Use of dental services, personnel resources and costs in 2000 (before the reform) and in 2004 (after the reform) were compared.
In 2000, when access to publicly subsidised dental services was restricted to those born in 1956 or later, every third adult used the PDS or subsidised private services. By 2004, when subsidies had been extended to the whole adult population, this increased to almost every second adult. The PDS reported having seen 118 076 more adult patients in 2004 than in 2000. The private sector had the same number of patients but 542 656 of them had not previously been entitled to partial reimbursement of fees.
The use of both public and subsidised private services increased most in big cities and urban municipalities where access to the PDS had been poor and the number of private practitioners was high. The PDS employed more dentists (6.5%) and the number of private practitioners fell by 6.9%. The total dental care expenditure (PDS plus private) increased by 21% during the study period. Private patients who had previously not been entitled to reimbursements seemed to gain most from the reform.
The results of this study indicate that implementation of a substantial reform, that changes the traditionally defined tasks of the public and private sectors in an established oral health care provision system, proceeds slowly, is expensive and probably requires more stringent steering than was the case in Finland 2001 – 2004. However, the equity and fairness of the oral health care provision system improved and access to services and cost-sharing improved slightly.
The World Health Report 2000 stated that increased public financing for healthcare was an integral part of the efforts to achieve equity of access. In 2009, the Chinese government launched a three-year health reform program to achieve equity of access. Through this reform program, the government intended to increase its investment in primary healthcare institutions (PHIs). However, reports about the outcome and the improvement of the equity of access have yet to be presented.
Stratified sampling was employed in this research. The samples used for the study comprised 34 community health service centers (CHSCs) and 92 township hospitals (THs) from six provinces of China. Collected data, which were publicly available, consisted of the total revenue, financial revenue, and the number of people for the periods covering January 2010 to September 2010 and January 2011 to September 2011. Revenue information for 2009 and 2010 was obtained from China’s Health Statistics Yearbook.
By using indicators such as government investment, government finance proportion and per capita revenue, t-tests for paired and independent samples were used to analyze the changes in government investment.
Government invest large amount of money to the primary healthcare institutions. Government finance proportion in 2008 was 18.2%. This percentage increased to 38.84% in 2011, indicating statistical significance (p = 0.000) between 2010 and 2011. The per capita financial input was 20.92 yuan in 2010 and 31.10 yuan in 2011. Compared with the figures from 2008 to 2010, the gap in different health sectors narrowed in 2011, and differences emerged. The government finance proportion in CHSCs revenue was 6.9% higher than that of THs, while the per capita revenue of CHSCs was higher. In 2011, the highest and lowest government finance proportions were 48.80% (Shaanxi) and 19.36% (Shandong), respectively. In that same year, the per capita revenue of Shaanxi (40.69 Yuan) was higher than that of Liaoning (28.79 Yuan). Comparing the 2011 figures with those from 2008 to 2010, the gap in 2011 clearly narrowed.
In the three-year health reform program, the Chinese government increased its investment to PHIs gradually and significantly. Thus promote equity to access and universal coverage. However, the increase in government investment stemmed from political desire and from the lack of institutionalization of practice and experience. Hence, a mode of financial allocation must be formulated to promote consistency in government input after the three-year health reform program.
Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in China, and poverty is a major barrier to having cataract surgery. In 2003, the Chinese government began a series of new national health insurance reforms, including the New Cooperative Medical Scheme (NCMS) and the Urban Resident Basic Health Insurance scheme (URBMI). These two programs, combined with the previously existing Urban Employee Basic Health Insurance (UEBMI) program, aimed to make it easier for individuals to receive medical treatment. This study reports cataract surgery numbers in rural and urban populations and the proportion of these who had health insurance in Chongqing, China from 2003 to 2008.
The medical records of a consecutive case series, including 14,700 eyes of 13,262 patients who underwent age-related cataract surgery in eight hospitals in Chongqing from January 1, 2003, to December 31, 2008, were analysed retrospectively via multi-stage cluster sampling.
In the past six years, the total number of cataract surgeries had increased each year as had the number of patients with insurance. Both the number of surgeries and the number of insured patients were much higher in the urban group than in the rural group. The rate of increase in the rural group however was much higher than in the urban group, especially in 2007 and 2008. The odds ratios of having health insurance for urban vs. rural individuals were relatively stable from 2003 to 2006, but it decreased in 2007 and was significantly lower in 2008.
Health insurance appears to be an important factor associated with increased cataract surgery in Chongqing, China. With the implementation of health insurance, the number of Chongqing's cataract surgeries was increased year by year.
National health insurance reform will pose considerable challenges to the core missions of safety net organizations that serve the uninsured. Those who currently donate money or time will, rightly or wrongly, view uninsured recipients as less deserving on the whole. Nevertheless, safety net organizations can serve several critical functions that continue to justify their existence and support.
One important mission is to maintain access for low-income uninsured until all elements of insurance reform are fully in place. Second, once the reform is implemented, people will need a great deal of assistance and encouragement to determine what they are supposed to do and where they are supposed to sign up. Third, substantial portions of the remaining uninsured will continue to lack affordable insurance options, and large numbers of people eligible for coverage will unavoidably undergo temporary gaps in coverage as their family and financial circumstances change. Finally, not all people with insurance will have affordable access to all needed care. Market conditions will continue pushing higher levels of patient cost-sharing through deductibles and co-payments.
To serve these multiple needs, safety net organizations should consider adapting their missions and business models so that they accept both insured and uninsured patients under a sliding fee scale that varies charges according to ability to pay.
uninsured; safety net; insurance reform
To examine the impact of a Wisconsin health care reform enacted in early 2008 on public insurance enrollment and retention.
Administrative data covering the period January 2007 to November 2009.
We calculate unadjusted enrollment trends and exit rates stratified by age, income group, and enrollment mode. Kaplan–Meier curves and Cox proportional hazards models are estimated to assess the impact of the reform on program exits.
Overall enrollment increased by approximately one-third and exit rates decreased by approximately one-fifth. The majority of new enrollment came from the previously income eligible.
Wisconsin's enactment of eligibility expansions coupled with administrative simplification and targeted marketing and outreach efforts were successful in enrolling and retaining low-income children and families in public coverage.
Medicaid expansions; health care reform; health insurance
The insulation of Canada’s healthcare system from trade treaty obligations is crucial to the legitimacy of Canada’s trade policy. Legal analysis has suggested, however, that competitive and for-profit delivery of the kind contemplated by the Kirby Report and some provinces may make healthcare more vulnerable to challenges under NAFTA and GATS. The Government of Canada has tried to counter this interpretation by stressing the importance of public financing as the principal criterion for exemption of healthcare from trade treaties, but now the potential for private financing of essential medical services indicated by the Supreme Court’s decision in Chaoulli v. Quebec has made that line of argument look risky as well. It is apparent that Canada failed to anticipate the possible interactions of domestic, international and constitutional law when it made commitments in the area of private health insurance at the WTO in 1997. Accordingly, the time has come to acknowledge the fragility of the boundary between health and trade policies, to take the risks and costs associated with trade treaty obligations fully into account when undertaking healthcare reform and to strengthen the separation between private and public health insurance.
China's health system reform launched in early 2000s has achieved better coverage of health insurance and significantly increased the use of healthcare for vast majority of Chinese population. This study was to examine changes in the structure of total health expenditures in China in 2000–2011, and to investigate the financial burden of healthcare placed on its population, particularly between urban and rural areas and across different socio-economic development regions.
Health expenditures data came from the China National Health Accounts study in 1990–2011, and other data used to calculate the financial burden of healthcare were from China Statistical Yearbook and China Population Statistical Yearbook. Total health expenditures were divided into government and social expenditure, and out-of-pocket payment. The financial burden of healthcare was estimated as out-of-pocket payment per capita as a percentage of annual household living consumption expenditure per capita.
Between 2000 and 2011, total health expenditures in China increased from Chinese yuan 319 to 1888 (United States dollars 51 to 305), with average annual increase of 17.4%. Government and social health expenditure increased rapidly being 22.9% and 18.8% of average annual growth rate, respectively. The share of out-of-pocket payment in total health expenditure for the urban population declined from 53% in 2005 to 36% in 2011, but had only a slight decrease for the rural population from 53% to 50%. Out-of-pocket payment, as a percentage of annual household living consumption, has continued to rise, particularly in the rural population from the less developed region (6.1% in 2000 to 8.8% in 2011).
The rapid increase of public funding to subsidize health insurance in China, as part of the reform strategy, did not mitigate the out-of-pocket payment for healthcare over the past decade. Financial burden of healthcare on the rural population increased. Affordability among the rural households with sick members, particularly in the less developed region, is getting worse. It needs effective measures on cost control including healthcare provider payment reform and well developed health insurance schemes to offer better financial protection for the vulnerable Chinese seeking essential healthcare.
Health expenditures; Financial burden; Rural population; China
China’s healthcare system is experiencing significant growth from expanded government-backed insurance, greater public-sector spending on hospitals, and the introduction of private insurance and for-profit clinics. An incremental reform process has sought to develop market incentives for medical innovation and liberalize physician compensation and hospital finance while continuing to keep basic care affordable to a large population that pays for many components of care out-of-pocket. Additional changes presently under consideration by policymakers are likely to further restructure insurance and the delivery of care and will alter competitive dynamics in major healthcare industries, notably pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and diagnostic testing. This article describes the institutional history of China’s healthcare system and identifies dilemmas emerging as the country negotiates divisions between public and private in healthcare. Building on this analysis, the article considers opportunities for public-private partnerships and greater systems integration to reconcile otherwise incommensurable approaches to rewarding innovation and improving access. The article concludes with observations on the public function of health insurance and its significance to further development of China’s healthcare system.
China; Healthcare reform; Clinical trials; Electronic medical records; Insurance; Pharmaceuticals
OBJECTIVE: To assess whether participation in a state publicly financed health insurance program, Massachusetts Children's Medical Security Plan (CMSP) , which is open to children regardless of income, was associated with disenrollment from private insurance. DATA SOURCES/STUDY DESIGN: A survey of participants in CMSP who were enrolled as of April 1998 was used. We conducted analyses to detect differences in access to and uptake of private insurance between Medicaid-eligible and in eligible children, and between children eligible for the State Children's Health insurance Program (SCHIP) and in eligible children. DATA COLLECTION METHODS: A stratified sample of children was drawn from administrative files. the sampling strategy allowed us to examine crowd out among children based on in come and eligibility for publicly funded coverage: those who were Medicaid-eligible (income pound 133 percent of the federal poverty level [FPL]) , those who were SCHIP-eligible (134-200 percent of FPL) , and those with family in comes that exceed SCHIP eligibility criteria (> 200 percent of FPL). The majority of telephone interviews were conducted with the child's parent/guardian between November 1998 and March 1999. The overall response rate was 61.8 percent , yielding a sample of 996 children. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Of the children in our sample whose recent health coverage was employer-sponsored insurance (59 percent), 70 percent were no longer eligible. Few children who had employer-sponsored insurance at enrollment dropped this coverage to enroll in CM SP (1 percent, 4 percent, and 2 percent by income). Compared to Medicaid-eligible children, children with incomes > 133 percent of FPL were significantly more likely to be eligible for employer-sponsored insurance but they were no more likely to have purchased offered coverage. Access to employer-sponsored insurance was limited (19 percent), and uptake was low (13 percent). We found no significant difference between SCHIP-eligible children and those whose family incomes exceeded SCHIP guidelines. CONCLUSIONS: The Massachusetts experience suggests that (1) coverage could be expanded to children with incomes up to 200 percent of FPL with little direct substitution of public coverage for private insurance, and (2) substitution among children with incomes > 200 percent of FPL, who paid a premium that may have restrained crowd out, did not differ from that among SCHIP-eligible children.
The Government of the Republic of Kenya is in the process of implementing health care reforms. However, poor knowledge about costs of health care services is perceived as a major obstacle towards evidence-based, effective and efficient health care reforms. Against this background, the Ministry of Health of Kenya in cooperation with its development partners conducted a comprehensive costing exercise and subsequently developed the Kenya Health Sector Costing Model in order to fill this data gap.
Based on standard methodology of costing of health care services in developing countries, standard questionnaires and analyses were employed in 207 health care facilities representing different trustees (e.g. Government, Faith Based/Nongovernmental, private-for-profit organisations), levels of care and regions (urban, rural). In addition, a total of 1369 patients were randomly selected and asked about their demand-sided costs. A standard step-down costing methodology was applied to calculate the costs per service unit and per diagnosis of the financial year 2006/2007.
The total costs of essential health care services in Kenya were calculated as 690 million Euros or 18.65 Euro per capita. 54% were incurred by public sector facilities, 17% by Faith Based and other Nongovernmental facilities and 23% in the private sector. Some 6% of the total cost is due to the overall administration provided directly by the Ministry and its decentralised organs. Around 37% of this cost is absorbed by salaries and 22% by drugs and medical supplies. Generally, costs of lower levels of care are lower than of higher levels, but health centres are an exemption. They have higher costs per service unit than district hospitals.
The results of this study signify that the costs of health care services are quite high compared with the Kenyan domestic product, but a major share are fixed costs so that an increasing coverage does not necessarily increase the health care costs proportionally. Instead, productivity will rise in particular in under-utilized private health care institutions. The results of this study also show that private-for-profit health care facilities are not only the luxurious providers catering exclusively for the rich but also play an important role in the service provision for the poorer population. The study findings also demonstrated a high degree of cost variability across private providers, suggesting differences in quality and efficiencies.
To measure the change in U.S. women and children's health insurance coverage as a result of welfare reform (i.e. the creation of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF) in 1996.
1992–1999 longitudinal data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) merged with data on the timing of state implementation of welfare reform after 1996. Two key advantages of the SIPP data are that they permit matching type of insurance coverage to the welfare policy environment in each state in each month, and permit controlling for individual-level fixed effects.
We measure how much insurance coverage changed after welfare reform using a difference in differences method that eliminates the influence of time-invariant unobserved individual heterogeneity and of statewide trends in insurance coverage. Models also control for individual, state, and year fixed effects, individual-level characteristics such as education, age, and number of children, plus state-level variables such as real per capita income, real minimum wage, and Medicaid eligibility.
Data Collection/Extraction Methods
We limit our analysis to the SIPP data specific to the month just completed prior to the interview; as a result, we have up to twelve observations for each individual in the SIPP. This paper uses pooled data from the 1992–1996 panels of the SIPP covering the period 1992–1999. Publicly available state identifiers permit the merger of state policies and macroeconomic variables with the SIPP.
TANF implementation is associated with an 8.1 percent increase in the probability that a welfare-eligible woman was uninsured. Welfare reform had less of an impact on the health insurance coverage of children. For example, TANF implementation was associated with a 3.0 percent increase in the probability that a welfare-eligible child lacked health insurance.
An unintended consequence of welfare reform was to adversely impact the health insurance coverage of economically vulnerable women and children, and that this impact was several times larger than the previous literature implies.
Health insurance; welfare reform; SCHIP; medicaid
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 is landmark legislation designed to expand access to health care for virtually all legal U.S. residents. A vital but controversial provision of the ACA requires individuals to maintain health insurance coverage or face a tax penalty—the individual mandate. We examine the constitutionality of the individual mandate by analyzing relevant court decisions. A critical issue has been defining the “activities” Congress is authorized to regulate. Some judges determined that the mandate was constitutional because the decision to go without health insurance, that is, to self-insure, is an activity with substantial economic effects within the overall scheme of the ACA. Opponents suggest that Congress overstepped its authority by regulating “inactivity,” that is, compelling people to purchase insurance when they otherwise would not. The U.S. Supreme Court is set to review the issues and the final ruling will shape the effectiveness of health reform.
health reform; Affordable Care Act; Constitution; individual mandate; Commerce Clause; nursing
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) will increase insurance coverage for US citizens and for breast and cervical cancer screening through insurance expansions and regulatory changes. The primary objective of this study was to estimate the number of low-income women who would gain health insurance after implementation of the ACA and thus be able to obtain cancer screening. A secondary objective was to estimate the size and characteristics of the uninsured low-income population and the number of women who would still need National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) services.
We used the nationally representative 2009 American Community Survey to estimate the determinants of insurance status for women in Massachusetts, assuming full implementation of the ACA. We extrapolated findings to simulate the effects of the ACA on each state. We used individual-level predicted probabilities of being uninsured to generate estimates of the number of women who would gain health insurance after implementation of the ACA and to predict demand for NBCCEDP services.
Approximately 6.8 million low-income women would gain health insurance, potentially increasing the annual demand for cancer screenings initially by about 500,000 mammograms and 1.3 million Papanicolaou tests. Despite a 60% decrease in the number of low-income uninsured women, the NBCCEDP would still serve fewer than one-third of the estimated number of women eligible for services. The NBCCEDP-eligible population would comprise a larger number of women with language and literacy-related barriers to care.
Implementation of the ACA would increase insurance coverage and access to cancer screening for millions of women, but the NBCCEDP will remain essential for the millions who will remain uninsured.
The medical component of workers' compensation programs-now costing over $24 billion annually-and the rest of the nation's medical care system are linked. They share the same patients and providers. They provide similar benefits and services. And they struggle over who should pay for what. Clearly, health care reform and restructuring will have a major impact on the operation and expenditures of the workers' compensation system. For a brief period, during the 1994 national health care reform debate, these two systems were part of the same federal policy development and legislative process. With comprehensive health care reform no longer on the horizon, states now are tackling both workers' compensation and medical system reforms on their own. This paper reviews the major issues federal and state policy makers face as they consider reforms affecting the relationship between workers' compensation and traditional health insurance. What is the relationship of the workers' compensation cost crisis to that in general health care? What strategies are being considered by states involved in reforming the medical component of workers compensation? What are the major policy implications of these strategies?
Signs of discontent with the health care system are growing. Calls for health care reform are largely motivated by the continued increase in health care costs and the large number of people without adequate health insurance. For the past 20 years, health care spending has risen at rates higher than the gross national product. As many as 35 million people are without health insurance. As proposals for health care reform are developed, it is useful to understand the roots of the cost problem. Causes of spiraling health care costs include "market failure" in the health care market, expansion in technology, excessive administrative costs, unnecessary care and defensive medicine, increased patient complexity, excess capacity within the health care system, and low productivity. Attempts to control costs, by the federal government for the Medicare program and then by the private sector, have to date been mostly unsuccessful. New proposals for health care reform are proliferating, and important changes in the health care system are likely.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), more commonly known as health reform, is designed to expand health coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans by 2019 and makes significant changes to public and private health insurance systems that will affect providers of HIV care. We review the major features of the legislation and when they will be implemented, discuss the ways in which it will affect HIV care for different patient populations, and outline implementation challenges that are relevant for HIV care. We conclude with ways in which HIV providers can get involved to learn more about the law and help their patients take advantage of the new opportunities for health coverage.
Affordable Care Act; health insurance coverage; Medicaid; Medicare; Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program
The Medicare program, the largest health insurance program in the United States, is clearly at a crossroads as it enters its third decade. Historical increases in health care expenditures, plus a changing political and economic landscape, have set the groundwork for policy reform. Two basic reform strategies--reimbursement arrangements and program funding mechanisms--are discussed. In 1983, Congress enacted the Prospective Payment System (PPS) which initiated a fundamental change in the way hospitals are paid for care delivered to Medicare beneficiaries. But the PPS is only a stepping-stone to broader reforms such as capitation and vouchers. In addition, new methods of program funding may be necessary, especially in light of policymakers' considerations of coverage of services such as long term care and organ transplants.
To analyze the effects of health reform efforts in two large states—New York and Massachusetts.
Data Sources/Study Setting
National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data from 1999 to 2008.
We take advantage of the “natural experiments” that occurred in New York and Massachusetts to compare health insurance coverage and health care access and use for adults before and after the implementation of the health policy changes. To control for underlying trends not related to the reform initiatives, we subtract changes in the outcomes over the same time period for comparison groups of adults who were not affected by the policy changes using a differences-in-differences framework. The analyses are conducted using multiple comparison groups and different time periods as a check on the robustness of the findings.
Data Collection/Extraction Methods
Nonelderly adults ages 19–64 in the NHIS.
We find evidence of the success of the initiatives in New York and Massachusetts at expanding insurance coverage, with the greatest gains reported by the initiative that was broadest in scope—the Massachusetts push toward universal coverage. There is no evidence of improvements in access to care in New York, reflecting the small gains in coverage under that state's reform effort and the narrow focus of the initiative. In contrast, there were significant gains in access to care in Massachusetts, where the impact on insurance coverage was greater and a more comprehensive set of reforms were implemented to improve access to a full array of health care services. The estimated gains in coverage and access to care reported here for Massachusetts were achieved in the early period under health reform, before the state's reform initiative was fully implemented.
Comprehensive reform initiatives are more successful at addressing gaps in coverage and access to care than are narrower efforts, highlighting the potential gains under national health reform. Tracking the implications of national health reform will be challenging, as sample sizes and content in existing national surveys are not currently sufficient for in-depth evaluations of the impacts of reform within many states.
Health reform; uninsurance; public coverage; employer-sponsored insurance coverage; crowd-out; health care access and use