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The CHCF Blog

The California Health Care Foundation draws on experts from within and outside CHCF to share their health policy insights on this blog. We encourage readers to join the conversation by using the comments feature at the bottom of each article.

  1. California Health Insurers Hold Onto Previous ACA Gains

    Katherine Wilson, Wilson Analytics
    Katherine Wilson
    Katherine Wilson

    California health insurance enrollment across all market segments at the end of 2016 remained mostly unchanged from a year earlier. After strong growth rates in 2014 and 2015 due to Medi-Cal expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the 2016 Medi-Cal managed care plans again accounted for more enrollees (10.5 million) than large private group plans (9.6 million). In addition, about 2.3 million Californians purchased coverage on the individual market through Covered California or directly from insurers.

  2. Delivering Moms from the Most Common Childbirth Complications: Depression and Anxiety

    Bruce Spurlock, President and CEO, Cynosure Health
    Joy Burkhard, Founder and Executive Director, 2020 Mom
    Bruce Spurlock
    Bruce Spurlock
    Joy Burkhard
    Joy Burkhard

    Every year, half a million babies are born in California. Alarmingly, the most common complications of childbirth are the mother's depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders. The magnitude of suffering from maternal mental health disorders dwarfs hospital-acquired infections, sexually transmitted diseases, new breast cancer diagnoses, and many other conditions that attract greater media interest, public reporting, and performance incentives and penalties.

  3. Guidelines for Sharing Behavioral Health Data Show Power of Collaboration

    Catherine Teare, Associate Director, High-Value Care
    Catherine Teare
    Catherine Teare

    There is widespread agreement about the value of integrating mental health and substance use disorder treatment with primary care. Behavioral health integration has the potential to dramatically improve health outcomes, particularly for people with complex needs.

  4. Senate Health Bill Dangerous for California Kids and Families

    Mike Odeh, Director of Health Policy, Children Now
    Mike Odeh
    Mike Odeh

    US Senate leaders are rushing to get a health care bill passed. Like the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which was passed by the House of Representatives in May, the Senate's Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) proposal (PDF) poses serious and devastating threats to California's kids and families. In fact, the BCRA would result in an estimated 539,000 California children losing insurance (PDF).

  5. Where's the "Better Care" in Senate Health Bill?

    Sandra R. Hernández, President & Chief Executive Officer
    Sandra Hernandez
    Sandra R. Hernández

    This year Congressional leadership and the Trump Administration have disrupted health insurance markets with uncertainty. Their vision is to undermine and ultimately do away with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and to obfuscate the dramatic coverage gains realized over the last seven years. While focusing on this plan, the GOP has not addressed how to make communities healthier, how to make our health care system more responsive to patients' needs, or how to improve life expectancy. Considering that the US ranks 50th of the 55 nations on the Bloomberg Health-Care Efficiency Index, those are the issues that we should focus on.

  6. California Survey Finds Strong Support for Behavioral Health Benefits

    Catherine Teare, Associate Director, High-Value Care
    Catherine Teare
    Catherine Teare

    Since passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the US has seen a dramatic expansion of insurance coverage for mental health and substance use disorder treatment. The health law sparked broader access to these behavioral health services both by giving states the ability to expand Medicaid coverage to more low-income adults, and by giving teeth to existing mental health parity laws. Today, meaningful coverage of mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) is real for millions more people.

  7. With Federal Medicaid Cuts Looming, New California Poll Shows Bipartisan Support for Program

    Amy Adams, Senior Program Officer, Improving Access
    Amy Adams
    Amy Adams

    At a time when American society and political life have grown increasingly polarized, a new health poll shows one thing that most Californians agree on: the importance of Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program. Findings released today by the Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) at UC Berkeley show that 88% of Californians say Medi-Cal is important to the state of California, with 72% saying it is "very important" and another 16% calling it "somewhat important." IGS conducted the poll on behalf of the California Health Care Foundation.

  8. Why Nevada Leaders Tried to Open Medicaid Health Plans to Everyone

    Avram Goldstein, Senior Engagement Officer
    Avram Goldstein
    Avram Goldstein

    With the American health care system in a state of uncertainty because Congress may repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), state policymakers nationwide are considering new ways to cover their uninsured residents. On June 2, the Nevada legislature passed a bill that would allow residents ineligible for the state Medicaid program to purchase similar health coverage through the Nevada Care Plan. Democratic Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle, a veteran paramedic from Reno, sponsored the bill, which had been labeled a "public option" and stirred strong media interest.

    On June 16, Nevada Republican governor Brian Sandoval vetoed the bill. In his message, Sandoval wrote: "Given the possibility that changes in federal law may put Nevada's expanded Medicaid population at risk of losing their coverage, the ability for individuals to purchase Medicaid-like plans is something that should be considered in depth. If done correctly, the proposal . . . could provide a necessary safety net for those who may no longer have access to traditional Medicaid." After the veto, I interviewed Sprinkle, who chairs the Nevada Assembly Health and Human Services Committee and is the Assembly's majority whip. Here is an edited and condensed transcript of the conversation.

  9. In Stylebook, AP Directs Its Reporters: Addiction Is a "Disease"

    Lisa Aliferis, Senior Communications Officer, High-Value Care
    Lisa Aliferis
    Lisa Aliferis

    Words matter. For 25 years before I joined CHCF last fall, I was a health care journalist. Journalists care a lot about words. And the media organizations that employ them care that their reporters use words in a similar way, which makes adherence to a "style guide" critical. The Associated Press, which reaches more than half the global population with its content every day, maintains one of the most influential style guides in the business and updates it regularly. Not only must AP journalists around the world adhere to this style, vast numbers of other news organizations adopt it too.

  10. "Hot Spots" Face Scrutiny in Next Cost & Quality Atlas

    Jeffrey Rideout, President and CEO, Integrated Healthcare Association
    Jeffrey Rideout
    Jeffrey Rideout

    Detailed performance measures of the California health care system are fragmented and scattered across payers, hospitals, physicians, and other providers. Last July, the Integrated Healthcare Association (IHA) created the California Regional Health Care Cost & Quality Atlas, an online tool that provides side-by-side comparisons of clinical quality, hospital utilization, and total cost of care by payer type for 19 California regions. The atlas, which spans commercial insurance, Medicare Advantage and fee-for-service (FFS), and Medi-Cal managed care and FFS, set an important benchmark to measure California's progress toward achieving high-quality, affordable care. The atlas reveals significant geographic variation in both cost and quality. For example, in Southern California, commercial enrollees receive relatively high-quality care at a lower cost, while those in Northern California receive higher-quality care but at a much higher cost.

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