While there is consensus that more reform is needed to improve value in the US health care system, there is less agreement on the mechanisms for achieving that broad aim. Put simply, while many agree on the what, they do not agree on the how.
Efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) remain on Congress’ legislative agenda, with a bill called the American Health Care Act (AHCA) recently passing in the House of Representatives, yet it is unclear whether, or in what form, this bill will pass in the Senate. There is an extensive evidence base evaluating the implementation of the ACA, but more research is needed on the potential effects of the provisions of the AHCA as well as research to see which payment and delivery system reforms could drive improvements in value.
Research intended to inform policy development and to understand and address challenges related to the ACA’s implementation is broad ranging. Programs like State Health Access Reform Evaluation (SHARE) and Policy-Relevant Insurance Studies, both funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), generated important, investigator-initiated research evidence to evaluate the implementation of the ACA at the state level and to address highly policy-relevant questions related to health insurance markets. Projects have examined consumer choice in the ACA marketplaces, pent-up demand for health care, premium assistance in Medicaid, and the impact of the ACA’s smoking penalties, to name just a few.
Other RWJF-funded projects like the Urban Institute’s Quick Strike Health Policy Analysis or Georgetown University’s Rapid Response Project, enabled timely policy analysis to address emerging issues related to health reform. For example, the Urban Institute’s Quick Strike series on the King v. Burwell Supreme Court case was ultimately cited in the court’s decision that upheld tax credits and cost-sharing reductions for millions of Americans.
Georgetown University’s Rapid Response series on the ACA’s…