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A Survey of Primary Care Doctors in Ten Countries Shows Progress in Use of Health Information Technology, Less in Other Areas

November 16, 2012 - More than two-thirds of U.S. primary care physicians were using electronic medical records in 2012, a substantial increase from 2009, when less than half had adopted the technology, a new Commonwealth Fund survey finds. But results also depict the U.S. as an outlier when it comes to affordability of health care.

For more information, see the In the Literature, "A Survey of Primary Care Doctors in Ten Countries Shows Progress in Use of Health Information Technology, Less in Other Areas."

Jobs Without Benefits: The Health Insurance Crisis Faced by Small Businesses and Their Workers

November 5, 2012 - A new Commonwealth Fund study highlights a nearly decade-long trend of declining health insurance coverage and rising costs for workers in small businesses, particularly employees making less than $15 an hour.

For more information, see the issue brief, Jobs Without Benefits: The Health Insurance Crisis Faced by Small Businesses and Their Workers.

Health Care in the 2012 Presidential Election: How the Obama and Romney Plans Stack Up

October 9, 2012 - With President Obama and Governor Romney offering fundamentally different visions for the nation's health system, the presidential election provides a stark choice for U.S. voters. This analysis contrasts the potential impact of implementing the Affordable Care Act in full with Romney’s proposals to repeal the law, eliminate many of the new requirements for insurance markets, and make changes in Medicaid and Medicare.

For more information, see the report, "Health Care in the 2012 Presidential Election: How the Obama and Romney Plans Stack Up."

In Amenable Mortality—Deaths Avoidable Through Health Care—Progress in the U.S. Lags That of Three European Countries

September 10, 2012 - For more information, see the In the Literature, In Amenable Mortality—Deaths Avoidable Through Health Care—Progress in the U.S. Lags That of Three European Countries.

Hospitals on the Path to Accountable Care: Highlights from a 2011 National Survey of Hospital Readiness to Participate in an Accountable Care Organization

August 27, 2012 - This issue brief reports on results from a survey that assesses hospitals' readiness to participate in ACOs, which shows the U.S. is at the beginning of the ACO adoption curve.  For more information, see, "Hospitals on the Path to Accountable Care: Highlights from a 2011 National Survey of Hospital Readiness to Participate in an Accountable Care Organization."

Medicare Beneficiaries Less Likely to Experience Cost- and Access-Related Problems than Adults with Private Coverage

July 30, 2012 - The authors of this Commonwealth Fund-supported study found that Medicare beneficiaries are more satisfied with their health coverage—and have fewer health care access and medical bill problems—than adults with private insurance.

For more information, see the In the Literature, "Medicare Beneficiaries Less Likely to Experience Cost- and Access-Related Problems than Adults with Private Coverage."

Oceans Apart The Higher Health Costs of Women in the US Compared to Other Nations, and How Reform Is Helping

July 16, 2012 - Twenty percent of U.S. women ages 19 to 64 were uninsured in 2010, up from 15 percent in 2000. This issue brief examines the implications of poor coverage for women in the United States by comparing their experiences to those of women in 10 other industrialized nations, all of which have universal health insurance systems.

For more information, see the issue brief, "Oceans Apart: The Higher Health Costs of Women in the U.S. Compared to Other Nations, and How Reform Is Helping."

Young, Uninsured, and in Debt: Why Young Adults Lack Health Insurance and How the Affordable Care Act Is Helping: Findings from the Commonwealth Fund Health Insurance Tracking Survey of Young Adults, 2011

June 8, 2012 - In 2011, 13.7 million young adults ages 19 to 25 stayed on or joined their parents' health plans, including 6.6 million who would likely not have been able to do so before passage of the Affordable Care Act, according to this Commonwealth Fund report. But not all young adults have parents with health plans they can join, and many still experience gaps in coverage and face medical bill problems and medical debt.

For more information, see the issue brief, “Young, Uninsured, and in Debt: Why Young Adults Lack Health Insurance and How the Affordable Care Act Is Helping: Findings from the Commonwealth Fund Health Insurance Tracking Survey of Young Adults, 2011.”

More Than Half of Individual Health Plans Offer Coverage That Falls Short of What Can Be Sold Through Exchanges as of 2014

June 4, 2012 - More than half of Americans who have health coverage through the individual insurance market are in plans that would not meet the standards for "essential benefits" set by the Affordable Care Act. Most people enrolled in employer group plans, however, have more comprehensive coverage with less cost-sharing.

For more information, see the In the Literature, "More Than Half of Individual Health Plans Offer Coverage That Falls Short of What Can Be Sold Through Exchanges as of 2014."

Achieving Better Quality of Care for Low-Income Populations: The Roles of Health Insurance and the Medical Home in Reducing Health Inequities

May 17, 2012 - A new analysis of the Commonwealth Fund 2010 Biennial Health Insurance Survey demonstrates that when low-income adults have both health insurance and a medical home, they are less likely to report cost-related access problems, more likely to be up-to-date with preventive screenings, and report greater satisfaction with the quality of their care.

For more information, see the issue brief, "Achieving Better Quality of Care for Low-Income Populations: The Roles of Health Insurance and the Medical Home in Reducing Health Inequities."

Explaining High Health Care Spending in the United States: An International Comparison of Supply, Utilization, Prices, and Quality

May 3, 2012 - This Commonwealth Fund analysis of 13 industrialized countries finds the U.S. spends far more on health care than any other country. However this high spending cannot be attributed to higher income, an older population, or greater supply or utilization of hospitals and doctors. Instead, the findings suggest the higher spending is more likely due to higher prices and perhaps more readily accessible technology and greater obesity.

For more information, see the issue brief, "Explaining High Health Care Spending in the United States: An International Comparison of Supply, Utilization, Prices, and Quality."

The Performance Improvement Imperative: Utilizing a Coordinated, Community-Based Approach to Enhance Care and Lower Costs for Chronically Ill Patients

April 26, 2012 - The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System believes the federal government needs a comprehensive, disciplined implementation plan that takes full advantage of the new opportunities provided by the Affordable Care Act, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act. The Commission identifes some general principles to help guide this strategic plan.

For more information, see the report, "The Performance Improvement Imperative: Utilizing a Coordinated, Community-Based Approach to Enhance Care and Lower Costs for Chronically Ill Patients."

Gaps in Health Insurance: Why So Many Americans Experience Breaks in Coverage and How the Affordable Care Act Will Help

April 19, 2012 - One-quarter of adults ages 19 to 64 experienced a gap in their health insurance in 2011, with a majority remaining uninsured for one year or more, according to the The Commonwealth Fund Health Insurance Tracking Survey of U.S. Adults.

For more information, see the issue brief, "Gaps in Health Insurance: Why So Many Americans Experience Breaks in Coverage and How the Affordable Care Act Will Help."

Rising to the Challenge: Results from a Scorecard on Local Health System Performance, 2012

March 14, 2012 - Health care access, cost, quality, and outcomes can vary greatly from one community to the next—both within states and across states—depending on the performance of the health care system available to residents, according to the first-ever local health system scorecard.

For more information, see the report, "Rising to the Challenge: Results from a Scorecard on Local Health System Performance, 2012."

The Income Divide in Health Care

February 21, 2012 - Adults in low- and moderate-income families are more likely to be uninsured, to lack a regular source of health care, and to struggle to get the health care they need compared to those in higher-income families, according to this new Commonwealth Fund survey.

For more information, see the issue brief, The Income Divide in Health Care: How the Affordable Care Act Will Help Restore Fairness to the U.S. Health System.