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What health reform means for the people of Illinois

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

“What does the Affordable Care Act mean for me?”

FamiliesUSA Sheds Light on the ACA

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the health care reform it brings can be difficult to understand. FamiliesUSA has recently made it a bit easier to understand by making available two different resources.

In a partnership with Herndon Alliance and Anzalone Liszt Research, FamiliesUSA started conducting research to identify the most frequent questions surrounding the ACA. The project began by polling state advocates across the country to find out the most often asked, but also most difficult to answer, questions. The result is a series of Q&A’s that help to de-mystify these common questions. The 10-page document, entitled “Mastering the 30-Second Sound Byte,” offers up straightforward, comprehensive information. In an effort to pass on some of that information to you, our readers, Illinois Health Matters will be posting a series of summaries from the document.

One of the Families USA Q&A’s sheds light on the claim that the ACA does not cut health care costs sufficiently. The answer explains that the ACA does put emphasis on providing good, quality care to citizens, but that it also employs cost-saving measures that do not detract from that quality, for both citizens and those funding health care. One element to this is the free preventative care that the ACA guarantees. Although there will be costs to insurance companies in order to pay for the preventative care in the short term, in the long run, it will end up saving costs from hospital visits and medical care for health conditions that will be detected and treating conditions before they grow serious enough to require more expensive treatment. Thus, both the consumer and the insurance companies are able to save money and still receive and provide quality care. A different step, on the administrative side, is to weed out fraud and abuse from Medicare.

A primary way that costs will be reduced for the consumer is through the health care exchange, a competitive health care marketplace that will be created in each state. The marketplaces will work to allow consumers to easily compare and find the best plan, while providing a competitive incentive for insurance companies to keep costs down. As the FamiliesUSA document describes it, it’s like “comparing airfare at a travel website like Travelocity.”

Finally, long-term efforts to lower costs and to increase quality of care turn towards innovation and ingenuity. The ACA will draw on new ideas from policy specialists that are as of yet untested, and to set up trials in order to see if these ideas will actually operate effectively. If the ideas are successful in test trials, they will be implemented widely in efforts to improve health care for all—without increasing costs!

Annika Yates
Illinois Health Matters

1 comment:

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