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Tools To Make Sense Of Health Care Reform

January 5, 2017

Below, we share resources to help make sense of our choices as we prepare for an upheaval in health care.

As members of Congress begin the process for Obamacare appeal, it’s an uncertain and confusing time for many Americans. Patients, caregivers, doctors and nurses, medical administrators, employers and insurance companies are unsure what the future holds for the American health care system.

Below, we share some resources to help make sense of our choices as we prepare for an upheaval in health care. These include issue guides we’ve produced to inspire smarter thinking and better dialogue about our policy choices, reports that outline where the public stands and recent articles that have helped sharpen our own understanding. Do you have resources you’d like to share? We invite you to do so in the comments.

Resources from Public Agenda:

Health Care: A Citizens’ Solutions Guide
We produced this guide in 2012, so some of the numbers aren’t up to date, but the concepts still stand, especially as we again face big decisions regarding the structure of our health care system. This guide lays out 3 possible approaches: adopting universal health care, increasing choice and competition and making small adjustments. Explore the pros and cons of each approach and use the guide to spark better, non-ideological conversations and dialogue.

Curbing Health Care Costs: Are Citizens Ready to Wrestle with Tough Choices?
Everyday Americans are too often walled off from conversations about health care policy. Lawmakers and industry insiders worry that health policy is too complex for meaningful public input. We know that’s not the case. So how do everyday Americans think we ought to tackle rising health care costs? We asked this question in a series of focus groups, during which participants also had the opportunity to deliberate their choices with each other. The findings of those focus groups are summarized here.

How Much Will It Cost? How Americans Use Prices in Health Care
Americans are paying more and more for health care, due to the increase of high-deductible insurance plans and rising co-pays. At the same time, information about how much their care will cost is hard to find. Do Americans feel more information about health care prices can help them protect themselves and their families financially? Would they use that information to shop around? Do they think it’s fair to expect people to seek out health care price information? We summarize survey responses to these and other questions in this 2014 report. We’ve completed this study again and will be releasing an update to the findings in March.

Helpful articles:

As Republicans And Democrats Argue Over Obamacare Repeal, Facts Are Stretched (NPR)
Both sides are trying to position themselves as the protectors of Americans’ health care, while branding the other party as a dangerous threat. As usual, the truth may be somewhere in between.

The Problems With ‘Repeal And Delay’ (Health Affairs)
The most likely end result of “repeal and delay” would be less secure insurance for many Americans, procrastination by political leaders who will delay taking any proactive steps as long as possible, and ultimately no discernible movement toward a real marketplace for either insurance or medical services. Congress should instead roll back elements of the ACA in the same legislation that moves U.S. health care more deliberately toward a functioning marketplace that is less dependent on federal coercion and control. This approach provides the best chance of constructing a replacement plan that moves decisively in a better direction without unnecessarily creating chaos during the transition.

Learning From CBO’s History Of Incorrect ObamaCare Projections (Forbes)
Brian Blase argues that lawmakers should be cautious about how CBO scores Obamacare repeal legislation, given the budget office’s record of missing on some of its health care predictions.

15 charts that show how Obamacare works now — and how Republicans would overhaul it (Vox)
These charts explain where Obamacare stands right now: who it covers, what is working and what needs a serious fix. They also show how Republicans envision changing the law, who the details would favor, and which people stand to lose coverage. Do you want to try slot games? Then is for you!