Clearing the Clutter: Wading Through Health Care Reform
As an attorney in a large firm with a very active team of more than 30 health care lawyers, I’m fortunate to be thoroughly immersed in the latest information about health care reform and the ever-changing regulations and laws surrounding the Affordable Care Act. With the launch of the Affordable Care Act, the culture surrounding how we think about health care is changing. Lower costs and higher quality are the watchwords and employers are being forced to rethink their own benefits programs. All of us, whether we are business executives or consumers, need to be informed about new developments in this area.
Although my position as a health care attorney forces me to stay abreast of health care reform, I’ve discovered a few valuable resources most professionals may find useful. I’ve found these to be credible, accurate and clear. Signing up for daily alerts and newsletters provides a convenient way to scan the regular news items and stay current on the most important information.
Information of all kinds on the Affordable Care Act – from states facing possible Medicaid expansion to employers grappling with the employer mandate – is available on the websites of various state and federal entities. This includes: the Obama Administration’s pages on health care reform (WhiteHouse.gov); the Department of Health & Human Services (DHS.gov); the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS.gov); the Internal Revenue Service (IRS.gov); and states’ health insurance oversight bodies, such as the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FLOIR.com) and Department of Financial Services (MyFloridaCFO.com); all have lots of information readily available in easy-to-read formats.
The new HealthCare.gov website – launched October 1, 2013 – is not only a portal to the federal health insurance marketplace, but a comprehensive “landing page” for Affordable Care Act news with links to most of the sites mentioned above.
Many of these government websites offer alert services, which notify subscribers of developments in health care reform law. Signing up for your favorites is an easy way to ensure you are informed.
Kaiser Family Foundation
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit, private organization with a long history of valuable research on major health care issues in the United States, including the health of the uninsured and under-insured as well as Medicaid and Medicare reform and, most recently, implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
This Foundation’s website features a number of tools for consumers seeking useful information about the meaning of health care reform: answers to hundreds of frequently asked questions, a subsidy calculator, and flowcharts. Visit KFF.org/aca-consumer-resources to learn more. The website also includes more sophisticated resources for individuals and business owners.
The New York Times
Both the print and online versions of The New York Times – the nation’s most popular daily – have been indispensable sources of news and opinion concerning the Affordable Care Act, from coverage of debate over the legislation in Congress to the Supreme Court’s decision upholding health care reform and rollout of the federal exchange.
You may also want to sign up for alerts to news articles by Times’ writers Elisabeth Rosenthal, Robert Pear, Kathryn Shattuck and Robb Mandelbaum.
Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal, the largest newspaper in the United States by circulation, is an equally valuable source of facts and editorials regarding the Affordable Care Act. This publication’s focus on economic and financial issues means that its reporting on health care reform seldom overlaps with the Times’ emphasis on the political and social. Visit Blogs.WSJ.com/health.
National Public Radio, now NPR, offers a multimedia news source. Try both print and video segments, including All Things Considered, The Two-Way, Tell Me More, and Weekend Edition at NPR.org for insight on the effects of health care reform.
Once your chosen information resources are loaded on your electronic devices, you’ll be well informed about the latest developments in our nation’s health care program.