The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has announced the launch of a new initiative designed to help states implement health insurance coverage provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which experts say could expand coverage to an additional thirty-two million people nationwide.
Through the initiative, the foundation will support technical assistance, research, consumer engagement, online networking, and leadership development to help states expand and improve health insurance coverage. Initially, the foundation will focus on ten states — Alabama, Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Virginia — and will make lessons learned from these and other states available to policy makers across the country.
Technical assistance to participating states will be provided through the new State Health Reform Assistance Network and by leading organizations and experts in the field of health policy and coverage. The foundation also will work with researchers and analysts to monitor and analyze the progress of state coverage gains and support consumer engagement in the policy development process through an initiative led by Boston-based Community Catalyst. In addition, the foundation and the National Academy for State Health Policy have launched an online resource, State Refor(u)m, to help policy makers, state health officials, and the broader health policy community explore opportunities created by the ACA and tackle implementation challenges.
Acknowledging that no single program will achieve its goal of ensuring coverage for at least 95 percent of Americans, the foundation will continue to support programs that provide leadership development for Medicaid directors, support investigator-initiated research on key healthcare issues, and help states reform their eligibility and enrollment systems to ensure that eligible children and families are enrolled in available health insurance programs.
"In the coming months, state health leaders will form strategies and consider options that best meet their unique coverage needs," said the foundation's president and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey. "RWJF has a long history of effectively disseminating information, and we're pleased to serve as an unbiased, nonpartisan convener to help different states share successful ideas that can be replicated, and warn of pitfalls that can be avoided."