The Commonwealth Fund Connection

The Commonwealth Fund Connection is a roundup of recent Fund publications, charts, multimedia, and other timely content. 

How Health Reform Will Help Young Adults

Young men and women between the ages of 19 and 29 are among the groups struggling the most to get the health care they need, a new Commonwealth Fund study affirms. Their plight demonstrates that the Affordable Care Act reforms are needed more than ever to make comprehensive, affordable health insurance coverage available to young adults. In 2010, 45 percent of young adults couldn't afford the care they needed, meaning they didn't fill a prescription, didn’t go to the doctor when they were sick, or skipped a test, treatment, or follow-up visit.

The new health reform law is already making a difference for young adults, according to the Fund's study. Early reports by five national insurance carriers indicate more than 600,000 young adults have obtained new insurance coverage since a key reform provision allowing them to stay on their parents' health insurance until age 26 went into effect in 2010. And that number is certain to climb through the summer as young adults graduate from high school and college and more employers open enrollment to this age group.

You can also view and download the charts or read a related blog by The Commonwealth Fund's Sara Collins.

New Brief and Upcoming Webinar on The California Health Benefit Exchange

California was the first state to create its own health insurance exchange after the passage of the Affordable Care Act. A new brief by the New America Foundation's Micah Weinberg and Leif Wellington Haase reports on California's key choices and evaluates their likelihood to ensure residents have affordable access to high-quality care.

Join a webinar on exchange implementation on Tuesday, June 7, at 3:30 p.m., E.D.T., with the authors and with: Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, Director of Coverage Policy in the Office of Health Reform at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Kim Belshé, member of the California Health Benefit Exchange board, former secretary of California's Health and Human Services Agency, and former member of the National Academy for State Health Policy Executive Committee; and Jon Kingsdale, Ph.D., managing director and cofounder of the Boston office of Wakely Consulting and founding executive director of the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority in Massachusetts.

Tracking the Progress of Reforms in Health Care Delivery
The Affordable Care Act brings new opportunities to reshape health care delivery to foster better patient experiences, improve health outcomes, and slow cost growth. But how can we keep track of the progress being made? The authors of a Commonwealth Fund brief propose a framework for a new tool to track delivery system reform, one that would pool all available data to create a detailed picture of changes taking place—from the number of patient-centered medical homes in communities to new provider incentives for fostering accountable care.
Maintaining Coverage When Income and Employment Change
Modifications to current policies could help ensure that health insurance coverage and subsidies provided under the Affordable Care Act remain stable even through major life changes, according to a new Commonwealth Fund brief. At least 34 million people will gain new coverage under the law, and the report's authors say that it will be important to ensure that life changes, such as fluctuations in income and job transitions, don't cause abrupt changes in people's health coverage or financial responsibilities for their premiums or care.
Health Care Opinion Leaders' Views on Health Reform and the Role of States
More than eight of 10 leaders in health and health care policy (82%) believe states should be allowed to implement key provisions of the Affordable Care Act early with full federal support, ahead of the timeline outlined in the law. These provisions include expanding Medicaid eligibility to cover more low-income families and creating insurance exchanges with premium subsidies. Findings are from the latest Commonwealth Fund/Modern Healthcare Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey, which asked respondents about the relative authority states and the federal government should have in implementing health care reform. Also read commentaries by former Vermont governor Jim Douglas and Illinois Department of Insurance director Michael McRaith.
13th International Health Ministers Symposium
A new video features highlights of the health ministers' roundtable discussion from The Commonwealth Fund's 13th International Symposium on Health Care Policy.
New Data on Health Care Quality and Patient Satisfaction on WhyNotTheBest.org
Users of WhyNotTheBest.org now have access to newly updated data, drawn from the third quarter of 2009 through the second quarter of 2010, for "core" measures of recommended care processes from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and measures of patient experience from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems.
2012–13 Harkness Fellowships Open to Applicants
The Commonwealth Fund's Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice provide a unique opportunity for mid-career professionals—academic researchers, government policymakers, clinicians, managers, and journalists—to spend up to 12 months in the United States conducting a policy-oriented research study. The fellowships are open to applicants from Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The deadline for receipt of applications is September 12, 2011. For details and the application form, please visit http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Fellowships/Harkness-Fellowships.aspx.
Australian–American Health Policy Fellowship
The Australian–American Health Policy Fellowship offers a unique opportunity for outstanding, mid-career U.S. professionals—academics, government officials, clinical leaders, decision-makers in managed care and other private health care organizations, and journalists—to spend up to 10 months in Australia conducting research and working with leading Australian health policy experts on issues relevant to both countries. The deadline for receipt of applications for the 2012–13 fellowship is August 15, 2011. For further information on the Australian–American Health Policy Fellowship and to obtain an application, please see http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Fellowships/Australian-American-Health-Policy-Fellowships.aspx