The Bigger Story Behind Health Reform

Before we bid farewell to an eventful year dominated by the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, our Health Forward associates take a look back at significant events and projects and share their insights about the year 2013.

On day one of our year in review, Health Forward Program and Policy Officer Jessica Hembree offers an earth-shattering reminder about health care reform.

As you might imagine the launch and subsequent flop, er, glitches of had major repercussions here at the Foundation.

We had just launched a large year-long initiative to support nonprofits in being trained to educate consumers about the health insurance marketplace and also committed hundreds of thousands of dollars to directly reach the uninsured in our service area. So, when turned out to be “glitch-y,” we had to seriously rethink, postpone and in some cases delay our efforts.

While Congress and Kathleen Sebelius and IT vendors duke it out over who is responsible, I am offering this earth-shattering tidbit…

The U.S. health care system is more than a website.

As we near the four-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, we are entering uncharted territory where we are making hard changes to the way we think about and provide health insurance in America. This means some people have to change their behaviors, either by buying insurance when they never did before or buying better plans with more protections. This change is hard, but we shouldn’t let it surprise us.

The Affordable Care Act is noteworthy in that it attempts to make broad changes to the U.S. health care system. While the policymaking process is famous for being too slow and incremental, the ACA has taken the opposite approach by offering a nine-year rollout and relatively comprehensive reforms. Rather than complaining that Washington can’t get anything done, some are now concerned that they got too much done.

Remember when the ACA passed and people complained that it was nearly 1,000 pages? I don’t think the IT coding of was part of those 1,000 pages.

While gets repaired, I challenge us all to remember that it is part of a much larger reform effort — one that includes some significant wins for the uninsured and underserved. While the insurance marketplace are an important and new option for those who are uninsured and underinsured, they are just one pillar of the system we are trying to build that will offer quality and affordable health care.

Health Reform

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