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Data Note: Attempting to Measure Early Impact of the ACA through National Public Opinion Polls- A Note of Caution and What to Watch For

After the October start of open enrollment, under the Affordable Care Act, many journalists, policymakers, and the public at large are eager for early data indicating how the law is working from the perspective of potential enrollees. In particular, given the problems with Healthcare.Gov and some of the state exchange websites, many people want quantitative data about people’s experiences attempting to purchase or enroll in some sort of health insurance coverage using these mechanisms.
This Data Note raises a note of caution about the possible pitfalls of using standard national public opinion polls to make judgments about Americans’ early experiences with health plan enrollment under the ACA.

A Guide to the Supreme Court’s Review of the Contraceptive Coverage Requirement

This issue brief dissects the issues raised by the legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that private insurance plans include contraception as part of their coverage of preventive services for women. Over 40 for-profit corporations and over 40 nonprofit corporations have filed lawsuits claiming that the requirement to provide their employees with contraceptives violates their religious rights. On November 26, 2013, the Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases filed by for-profit corporations, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, that claim that this requirement violates their religious rights. At the crux of these cases is a question that the Supreme Court has not previously addressed: Do for-profit corporations have religious protections under the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment? The brief provides background on how the ACA’s contraceptive requirement works, summarizes some of the legal challenges brought by for-profit and non-profit organizations and discusses the implications of potential rulings by the Supreme Court.

The Impact of the Coverage Gap in States not Expanding Medicaid by Race and Ethnicity

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) expansion of Medicaid to adults with incomes at or below 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL) effectively became a state option following the Supreme Court decision, creating a “coverage gap” for many poor uninsured adults in states that do not expand Medicaid. This brief examines this coverage gap by race and ethnicity.

Webinar for Journalists: A Year-End Update on the ACA Rollout & Looking Ahead to 2014

Two and an half months into the open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, where does the rollout of the law stand with marketplace coverage set to begin on January 1, 2014? Featuring two Kaiser Family Foundation experts–Larry Levitt, Co-Director of the Foundation’s Program for the Study of Health Reform and Private Insurance & Senior Vice President, and Jennifer Tolbert, State Health Policy Director–the webinar touched on some of the major questions as people start using ACA coverage and the end of the open enrollment period on March 31. Most of the hour was devoted to a question and answer session with the participating audience.

Characteristics of Poor Uninsured Adults who Fall into the Coverage Gap

In states that do not implement the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many adults will fall into a “coverage gap” of earning too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to qualify for Marketplace premium tax credits. Nationwide, nearly five million poor uninsured adults are in this situation.This brief describes the population in the coverage gap and discusses the implications of them being left out of ACA coverage expansions.

The Numbers Behind “Young Invincibles” and the Affordable Care Act

As enrollment statistics in the new health insurance marketplaces start to become available, there is a growing focus on whether the enrollment of so-called “young invincibles” will be sufficient to keep insurance markets stable. Enrollment of young adults is important, but not as important as conventional wisdom suggests since premiums…

Covering The ACA May Be Almost As Hard As Implementing It

This Pulling It Together was adapted from a column I published earlier this week in Politico, with a new introduction added. You can read the original Politico column here. The implementation of the ACA is news and the public will demand information about it. Journalists and news organizations have an obligation…