David C. Colby, vice president of research and evaluation at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, shares his favorite health reform policy papers in the spirit of regifting.
While many of you might already have visions of sugar plums dancing through your heads, I (not surprisingly) have health reform on my mind. That doesn’t mean I am not in the holiday spirit. In fact, I propose a “white elephant” holiday gift exchange here at the foundation. ‘Tis the season of regifting. The best part of the gift exchange is how it highlights that value is truly in the eye of the beholder. Many recycled gifts are still perfect gifts.
In that spirit, I want to regift to you some of this year’s health reform policy papers that are as good as stocking stuffers today as when they were released last February, April, June or October. I started with 12 gifts of policy analysis, but with Hanukkah wrapping up tomorrow, feel free to pick your favorite eight…
America’s Uninsured Crisis
Released in February by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), this report addresses three key questions: (1) What are the dynamics driving downward trends in health insurance coverage? (2) Is being uninsured harmful to the health of children and adults? (3) Are insured people affected by high rates of uninsurance in their communities?
Crossing Our Lines: Working Together to Reform the U.S. Health System
In June, three wise men, former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle and Bob Dole completed The Leaders’ Project on the State of American Health Care, a two-year consensus-building process resulting in a plan for reforming America’s health care system. This report outlines their key recommendations.
How Do We Pay For Health Reform?
Conducted by Urban Institute researchers and released in July, this analysis reports that savings from many popular health reform ideas would finance the lion’s share of the cost of comprehensive health care reform. The authors also conclude that a combination of revenue options would provide more than enough money to fill the gap between the cost of reform and the savings resulting from it.
How Does the Quality of U.S. Health Care Compare Internationally?
This analysis from the Urban Institute, which we released in August, looks at the evidence on how quality of care in the United States compares to that in other countries and highlights the implications for health reform.
How Will the Uninsured Be Affected by Health Reform?
In this four-part series, released in August by RWJF and the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, the Urban Institute’s Lisa Dubay and Allison Cook calculate how many uninsured people could gain coverage through a health reform scenario that draws on proposals being discussed on Capitol Hill.
Bending the Curve
Released in September, this report is not about making candy canes. Compiled by the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at the Brookings Institution, the paper proposes that health care reform should include comprehensive efforts to achieve higher-value care. The report was co-signed by a distinguished group of scholars and policymakers: Joseph Antos, Ph.D., (American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research); John Bertko (Brookings Institution); Michael Chernew, Ph.D., (Harvard Medical School); David Cutler, Ph.D., (Harvard University); Dana Goldman, Ph.D., (RAND Corporation); Mark McClellan, M.D., Ph.D., (The Brookings Institution); Elizabeth McGlynn, Ph.D., (RAND Corporation); Mark Pauly, Ph.D., ( University of Pennsylvania); Leonard Schaeffer (University of Southern California); and Stephen Shortell, Ph.D., (University of California, Berkeley).
Is Massachusetts Reform Working for Doctors?
This study, published in the Oct. 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, finds that 70% of practicing physicians in Massachusetts support health reform three years after its passage in 2006. We partnered with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation to fund the research, which was designed and conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Trust for America’s Health Prevention Poll
The poll, conducted for RWJF and Trust for America’s Health by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Public Opinion Strategies, indicates the majority of Americans support disease prevention investments as a part of national health reform. Poll findings were released in November.
A State Policymaker's Guide to Federal Health Reform
These three documents released by the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) last month identify the most challenging health policy issues that states are addressing; describe the tools they have at their disposal and how federal health reform may affect those tools. It also describes the support they would need to implement federal health reform legislation.
County and City Health Departments: The Need for Sustainable Funding and the Potential Effect of Health Care Reform on their Operations
This report, released earlier this month by Health Management Associates, analyzes the effects that substantial funding cutbacks from local, state, and federal sources have had on already-strapped local health departments.
Leveling the Field - Ensuring Equity Through National Health Care Reform
Bruce Siegel, M.D., and Lea Nolan, M.A., from the Center for Health Care Quality, The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, published this piece in the Dec 3 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. The paper discusses how health reform legislation would reduce racial and ethnic disparities by extending coverage to disadvantaged groups.
The Cost of Failure to Enact Health Reform: Implications for States
Released at the end of September, researchers from the Urban Institute used their Health Insurance Policy Simulation Model to estimate how coverage and cost trends would change in every state between now and 2019 if the health system is not reformed.
Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season. May all your policy papers be white!