Transforming Health Care Through Evidence and Collaboration
Transforming Health Care Through Evidence and Collaboration
The NIHCM Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving the effectiveness, efficiency and quality of America's health care system.
  • News

    To help you find answers to questions concerning COVID-19, NIHCM is providing you with links to expert sources that are frequently updated. We will continually update this list.

    Learn More
  • Awards

    We are honored to announce the finalists for the 26th Annual Health Care Research and Journalism Awards. The winning entry in each category will be announced in late Spring and will receive a $15,000 to $20,000 cash prize.

    See the Finalists Press Release The NIHCM Awards
  • Data Insights

    Mental illness is increasingly common among young people but many are not receiving the treatment that they need. This Data Insights explores current trends in youth mental health and opportunities to improve outcomes.

    Learn More
  • Grants

    NIHCM Foundation has awarded 14 grants for health care journalism including investigative reporting and educational opportunities for reporters.

    Press Release All Journalism Grantees
  • Grants

    NIHCM Foundation has awarded over $500,000 in grants to support nine investigator-initiated research studies.

    Press Release All Research Grantees
  • Briefing

    NIHCM Foundation led a briefing on Capitol Hill to discuss social determinants of health and the opioid crisis with Founding President and CEO Nancy Chockley, former CMS Administrator Don Berwick, Curtis Barnett of Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield, Craig Samitt of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, and Grant Baldwin from the CDC.

    Press Release Watch the Video
  • Advisory Board

    NIHCM Foundation is pleased to welcome Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Sherry Glied, PhD, and Katherine Baicker, PhD, to its distinguished Advisory Board. Their ideas and insights will advance NIHCM's mission to improve health care for millions of Americans.

    Press Release Advisory Board
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Events

April 08, 2020
USC-covid19-webinar-040820

This webinar will highlight how a top reporter stays on top of the story every day, and will offer actionable tips that will bolster fellow journalists' coverage.

March 18, 2020
Alliance-covid19-webinar-image

This COVID-19 Webinar Miniseries synthesizes the information in the headlines to provide cohesive insight into the status of the response and remaining gaps in the system that must be addressed to limit the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States.

In the News

March 2020
Population Health Spotlight
newsletter rural urban new

The ACA's Section 1332 Waivers: Will We See More State Innovation in Health Care Reform?

Joel Ario, JD, Managing Director, Manatt Health

While the Affordable Care Act continues to be politically polarizing, my experience with stakeholders from across the health reform landscape is that they are focused on effectively implementing the law and on making incremental – not radical – changes to it. The question is how such change might happen given the deep national divisions about what corrections are needed. One answer lies in Section 1332 of the ACA, which invites states to be “laboratories of democracy” in experimenting with ACA reforms that do not have enough support to pass Congress but could garner backing at a state level.

Joel Ario
Joel Ario
What Could States Do?

Section 1332 authorizes states to request five-year renewable waivers from the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Treasury to modify four pillars of the ACA, with changes beginning as early as 2017. First, states may modify the rules governing covered benefits, premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies. Second, they may replace or modify their ACA Marketplaces by providing health plan choice, subsidy eligibility determination, and enrollment in other ways. Finally, states may modify or even eliminate the ACA’s individual and/or employer mandates.

In designing new approaches, states must satisfy four statutory “guardrails” by providing coverage that is at least as (1) comprehensive and (2) affordable to (3) at least as many residents as would have been covered without the waiver, all (4) without increasing the federal deficit. Substantive guidance on how reform proposals will be judged against these guardrails, released in late 2015, was decidedly more restrictive than some states had hoped. Among the significant limitations was the requirement to consider coverage and affordability impacts in each waiver year separately, as well as for population subgroups such as the poor, elderly and chronically ill. The guidance also bars states from using savings generated through a separate Medicaid expansion waiver to offset costs in a 1332 waiver. Finally, states wishing to use different rules for Marketplace functions or subsidies will have to make all necessary operational arrangements themselves rather than rely on HHS and the Department of the Treasury.

What Are States Doing So Far?

These limitations have largely discouraged states from proposing sweeping reforms. To date, only three states have published draft waivers, and each was narrowly drawn to resolve unique issues that put the state at odds with certain ACA provisions. The first phase of a Massachusetts proposal to maintain certain rating practices in its merged small group and individual market was approved by HHS on other grounds, obviating the need to file its 1332 waiver this year.1 Similarly, Vermont’s draft waiver to continue relying on direct enrollment through carriers rather than building a Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) portal was rendered moot by new HHS guidance delaying the mandatory change to an online portal until 2019.2 That leaves only Hawaii, which has formally asked to maintain its 40-year-old employer mandate rather than implement a SHOP that would offer less generous coverage and potentially decrease employer-based coverage. Hawaii’s unique situation may make its waiver the only one to gain approval in 2016.

Two other states have recently passed legislation to pursue 1332 waivers. California hopes to allow undocumented immigrants to purchase Marketplace policies without subsidies,3 and Alaska is interested in using its state-funded reinsurance program to reduce Marketplace premiums.

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Events

April 08, 2020
USC-covid19-webinar-040820

This webinar will highlight how a top reporter stays on top of the story every day, and will offer actionable tips that will bolster fellow journalists' coverage.

March 18, 2020
Alliance-covid19-webinar-image

This COVID-19 Webinar Miniseries synthesizes the information in the headlines to provide cohesive insight into the status of the response and remaining gaps in the system that must be addressed to limit the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States.

In the News

March 2020
Population Health Spotlight
newsletter rural urban new

Grants

Journalism GrantsJournalism Grant Program

NIHCM has announced its 2019 journalism grantees. We will begin accepting Letters of Inquiry for the 2020-2021 funding cycle in late spring 2020.

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NYTUpshotLogo

Investigator-Initiated Research Grant Program

NIHCM has announced its 2019 research grantees. We will begin accepting Letters of Inquiry for the 2020-2021 funding cycle in late spring 2020.

Read More

Awards

The 26th Annual Research and Journalism Awards

Winners Announcment 2018 1

We are honored to announce the finalists for the 26th Annual Health Care Research and Journalism Awards.

Learn More