Saturday, August 23, 2014
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State Health Care Innovation is Blossoming Under Obamacare

Obamacare was passed, in part, to control the imbalance between the nation's high health spending and poor health outcomes. The law includes several provisions that enhance coordination between health care delivery and public health systems to help improve overall health in the population while lowering costs. To that end, it gives states new funding to support community-based interventions that can be replicated nationally if they prove effective.

State Health Care Innovation is Blossoming Under Obamacare

Obamacare was passed, in part, to control the imbalance between the nation’s high health spending and poor health outcomes.  The law includes several provisions that enhance coordination between health care delivery and public health systems to help improve overall health in the population while lowering costs.  To that end, it gives states new funding to support community-based interventions that can be replicated nationally if they prove effective.

A new report from the National Academy for State Health Policy and ChangeLab Solutions profiles how eight states—California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Vermont—have successfully used this provision in combination with existing state programs to improve care and reduce costs. These efforts show how important state initiatives can be in improving health care.

The report highlights three types of strategies that states have used to take advantage of the Obamacare assistance.  The have implemented innovations in their Medicaid programs through waivers of federal requirements.  They have encouraged experiments with delivery system reforms, such as accountable care organizations. And they have pushed non-profit hospitals to be more responsive to community needs. 

These approaches are not all new. However, new funding and regulatory powers under health reform have given states new tools for implementing them. Most people think of Obamacare in terms of its primary goal of expanding individual access to coverage. But other aspects of the law, like support for state-supported initiatives such as these, may be more important in bringing about effective and transformative changes in the health care system.

Krystyna Dereszowska A third-year law student concentrating in health at Drexel
About this blog

The Field Clinic reports and analyzes health care laws, government policies, and political trends that are transforming the care we receive and the way we pay for it. Read more about our panel of bloggers here.

This blog is produced in partnership with Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health-policy research and communication organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Portions of this blog may also be found on Inquirer.com and in the Inquirer's Sunday Health Section.

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Robert I. Field, Ph.D., J.D., M.P.H. Professor, School of Law & Drexel School of Public Health
Jeffrey Brenner, MD Founder of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, Medical Director of the Urban Health Institute at Cooper University Healthcare
Andy Carter President & CEO, The Hospital & Healthsystem Assoc. of Pa.
Robert B. Doherty Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs & Public Policy American College of Physicians
David Grande, MD, MPA Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Tine Hansen-Turton Chief Strategy Officer of Public Health Management Corporation
Drew A. Harris, DPM, MPH Director of Health Policy Program at the Jefferson School of Population Health
Antoinette Kraus Director of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network
Laval Miller-Wilson Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Health Law Project
David B. Nash, MD, MBA Founding Dean of the Jefferson School of Population Health
Mark V. Pauly, Ph.D. Professor of Health Care Management, Business Economics and Public Policy at The Wharton School
Howard J. Peterson, MHA Managing Partner of TRG Healthcare, a national healthcare consulting firm
Donald Schwarz, MD, MPH Deputy Mayor for Health & Opportunity and Health Commissioner for the City of Philadelphia
Paula L. Stillman, MD, MBA Healthcare consultant with special expertise in population health and disease management
Elizabeth A. W. Williams Senior Vice President & Chief Communications Officer for Independence Blue Cross
Krystyna Dereszowska A third-year law student concentrating in health at Drexel
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