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Kaiser Health Policy News Index: August-September 2014

The latest Kaiser Health Policy News Index finds that attention to health policy stories in August took a back seat to breaking national news such as the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, international events in the West Bank, Syria and Ukraine and a global health story, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The only U.S. health policy news story that garnered a significant amount of public attention this month was the passage of a bill in Congress to overhaul the Veterans Affairs health system.

Why the Political Heat on the ACA Is Cooling

In his latest column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman explores some early indicators that the political waters may be calming for the Affordable Care Act.

What Worked and What’s Next? Strategies in Four States Leading ACA Enrollment Efforts

This brief highlights the experiences of four states—Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, and Washington—that established a State-based Marketplace (SBM), implemented the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, and achieved success enrolling eligible individuals into coverage. Based on interviews with key stakeholders in each state, it identifies effective strategies that contributed to enrollment and current priorities looking forward.

Survey of Health Insurance Marketplace Assister Programs

This survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation of Navigators and other Marketplace consumer assistance programs under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) offers a nationwide analysis of the number and distribution of assisters and people they helped. The report examines the experience of programs in conducting outreach and enrollment assistance during the first open enrollment period. It also reviews the nature of help consumers needed applying for Medicaid or premium tax credits and understanding health insurance choices, and discusses key factors that impacted the effectiveness of Marketplace Assister Programs.

National Survey Finds 10.6 Million People Helped By Navigators and Assisters During the Affordable Care Act’s First Open Enrollment Period

An estimated 10.6 million people nationally received personal help from navigators and assisters during the Affordable Care Act’s first open enrollment period, finds a new Kaiser Family Foundation survey of navigators and assister programs nationally. The survey estimates that the 4,400 assister programs operating nationally had an estimated 28,000 full-time staff and volunteers, suggesting each assister would have helped more than 370 people on average during the six-month open enrollment period that ran from October 1 through March 31.

What’s Trending in Health Care? Conservative Ideas

In his latest column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman cuts through the political debate and reviews how some ideas conservatives like are taking hold in the American health system.