Affordable Care Act At 3: A Snapshot In Massachusetts

Just to be perfectly clear, this is the Obama administration’s update on health reform since the Affordable Care Act became law three years ago. Still, it’s worth noting the ACA’s sweep and wide-ranging impact.

Changes include the number of young adults covered under their parents’ health plans (3.1 million nationwide and 21,000 in Massachusetts as of Dec. 2011), new no-co-pay preventive care for women (approximately 47 million women, including 1,212,350 in Massachusetts, have guaranteed access to additional preventive services without cost-sharing) and the removal of lifetime limits on insurance (2,520,000 people in Massachusetts, including 975,000 women and 633,000 children).

Here, again, according to an administration news release, is a rundown of some of the ACA-related funds flowing into the state:

Obama signs national health care reform law

Obama signs national health care reform law

 

Massachusetts has received $180,067,775 in grants for research, planning, information technology development, and implementation of Affordable Insurance Exchanges.–$1,000,000 in Planning Grants: This grant provides Massachusetts the resources needed to conduct the research and planning necessary to build a better health insurance marketplace and determine how its exchange will be operated and governed.

–Early Innovator Grants: These grants are being used to help a group of “Early Innovator” states design and implement the information technology (IT) infrastructure needed to operate Affordable Insurance Exchanges. Early Innovator States have committed to ensuring that the technology they develop is reusable and transferable to other States. Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont participated in a multi-state consortium led by the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and received over $241 million in Early Innovator grants to develop model Marketplace information technology (IT) systems.

–$134,581,413 in Exchange Establishment Grants: These grants are helping States continue their work to implement key provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

–Since 2010, Massachusetts has received $42,700,000 in grants from the Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the Affordable Care Act.

–The Affordable Care Act increases the funding available to community health centers nationwide. In Massachusetts, 36 health centers operate 295 sites, providing preventive and primary health care services to 615,708 people. Health Center grantees in Massachusetts have received $133,177,171 under the Affordable Care Act to support ongoing health center operations and to establish new health center sites, expand services, and/or support major capital improvement projects.

–As a result of historic investments through the Affordable Care Act and the Recovery Act, the numbers of clinicians in the National Health Service Corps are at all-time highs with nearly 10,000 Corps clinicians providing care to more than 10.4 million people who live in rural, urban, and frontier communities. The National Health Service Corps repays educational loans and provides scholarships to primary care physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, behavioral health providers, and other primary care providers who practice in areas of the country that have too few health care professionals to serve the people who live there. As of September 30, 2012, there were 288 Corps clinicians providing primary care services in Massachusetts compared to 124 in 2008.

–The law gives states support for their work to build the health care workforce, crack down on fraud, and support public health. These partnerships help ensure that health care providers are working where they are needed most – in both urban and rural areas. They ensure that half a million people annually get access to HIV/AIDS treatment and access to high quality primary care services.

Examples of Affordable Care Act grants to Massachusetts not outlined above include:

–$700,000 to support the National Health Service Corps, by assisting Massachusetts’s State Loan Repayment Program in repaying educational loans of health care professionals in return for their practice in health professional shortage areas.
–$2,233,504 for the Personal and Home Care Aide State Training Program, which will help train key health care aides and strengthen the direct care worker workforce.
–$1,500,000 to support teaching health centers, creating new residency slots in community health centers.
–$3,675,369 for school-based health centers to help clinics expand their capacity to provide more health care services and modernize their facilities.
–$287,100 for Family-to-Family Health Information Centers, organizations run by and for families with children with special health care needs.
–$21,057,731 for Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Programs. These programs bring health professionals, social workers, or paraprofessionals to meet with at-risk families in their homes and connect families to the kinds of help that can make a real difference in a child’s health, development, and ability to learn – such as health care, early education, parenting skills, child abuse prevention, and nutrition.

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  • Isobel

    I have a question, have had it in fact for some time: you speak of “new no-co-pay preventive care for women (approximately 47 million women,
    including 1,212,350 in Massachusetts, have guaranteed access to
    additional preventive services without cost-sharing)” but I have never been informed of this by my insurance company, which routinely sends announcements of any changes (normally coverage cuts or hikes in co-pays) in my coverage. Does that mean that companies are free to ignore the Affordable Health Care Act in Massachusetts?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.recht Jim Recht

    The law is only “new and improved” if you happen to run an insurance corporation. Question: Why is it a good thing that we are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to “conduct the research and planning necessary to build a better health insurance marketplace?” Answer: it isn’t. We already have a better health insurance system. It’s called Medicare. Don’t believe it? Please refer, for example, to Steven Brill’s excellent Time Magazine report (“Bitter Pill”). Here are some facts: we can improve, fully fund, and expand Medicare so that every one of us (rich, poor, old young, healthy, sick) is covered, automatically, for all medically necessary care. And we can do it with no copays, no deductibles, no monkey business. Don’t believe it? Get in touch with me or any one of the thousands of other American physicians who, like me, have looked seriously at this problem and understand that there is one just solution. http://www.pnhp.org. I look forward to hearing from you!

    James Recht, MD
    Massachusetts Co-Chair
    Physicians for a National Health Program
    pnhp.org

    • Michael

      Dear Dr. Recht,
      Maybe the reason that socialism has never worked in any society and culture
      is human nature. If we can improve, fully fund, and expand Medicare so that every one of us (rich, poor, old young, healthy, sick) is covered, automatically, for all medically necessary care how will you create incentive for doctors to be better, learn more and care for the patients – how will they differentiate themselves and correlate their skill set with their compensation and well-being?
      If rich would not be able to get a better healthcare than poor, why to be rich? If your reasoning would apply to healthcare insurance, why not to car insurance, life insurance, home insurance and so forth?

      When you looked seriously at “this problem,” did you look at financial aspect of providing health care, or you also looked at the implication on human behavior? And if you find time to answer on the questions I asked, I promise listen with open mind and respect.

  • Brian Rosman

    It’s a new and improved law. As you know Josh, much of the funds are going for a state-of-the-art online eligibility and enrollment system to replace the antiquated 1980s-era system we have now.

    Currently, processing a MassHealth or Commonwealth Care application takes weeks. Verifications are checked by hand. You can fill out a paper application by yourself, but the online system is restricted to health centers, hospitals and few community groups. Making any change in the programming takes months.

    The new system will verify one’s identity, citizenship and income using online databases in real time. The notices will be customized, and understandable for the first time, Most people should get an eligibility decision within minutes of pressing submit. We think this is money well spent.

    Brian Rosman
    Health Care For All

  • http://twitter.com/josharchambault Josh Archambault

    Massachusetts has received $180,067,775 in grants for research, planning, information technology development, and implementation of Affordable Insurance Exchanges

    I guess having the same law does not come cheap.