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THCB Gang Episode 104, Thursday September 15 at 1pm PT, 4pm ET

Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) on #THCBGang on Thursday September 15 patient safety expert and all around wit Michael Millenson (@mlmillenson); Suntra Modern Recovery CEO JL Neptune (@JeanLucNeptune); fierce patient activist Casey Quinlan (@MightyCasey); delivery & platforms expert Vince Kuraitis (@VinceKuraitis); &  policy expert consultant/author Rosemarie Day (@Rosemarie_Day1);

You can see the video below & if you’d rather listen than watch, the audio is preserved as a weekly podcast available on our iTunes & Spotify channels.

THCB Gang Episode 92, Thursday May 19 1pm PT, 4pm ET

Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) on #THCBGang on Thursday May 19 are delivery & platform expert Vince Kuraitis (@VinceKuraitis); policy expert consultant/author Rosemarie Day (@Rosemarie_Day1); & back after a long absence dangerous radiologist Saurabh Jha (@roguerad). Some great conversation about digital health, Roe v Wade, rural care and a deep dive into Saurabh’s trip to Nepal to deliver radiology tech to Everest Base Camp!

You can see the video below & if you’d rather listen than watch, the audio is preserved as a weekly podcast available on our iTunes & Spotify channels.

THCB Gang Episode 90, Thursday May 5 – Cancer Special

#THCBGang on May 5 was an extraordinary special on cancer & navigation. Everyone on this gang has been touched by cancer as a patient or caregiver.

Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) will be fierce patient activist Casey Quinlan (@MightyCasey); Jennifer Benz (@Jenbenz); Suntra Modern Recovery CEO JL Neptune (@JeanLucNeptune); patient advocate Grace Cordovano (@GraceCordovano); policy consultant/author Rosemarie Day (@Rosemarie_Day1); Jeff Goldsmith; Jennifer Benz (@Jenbenz); PLUS Adam Pellegini (@adampellegrini) from cancer navigation company Jasper Health. It really was a great conversation about what to do (and what is being done) to make the experience better for people with cancer and those that love them.

You can see the video below & if you’d rather listen than watch, the audio is preserved as a weekly podcast available on our iTunes & Spotify channels.

THCB Gang Episode 87, Thursday April 14th

Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) on #THCBGang on April 14 for an hour of topical conversation on what’s happening in health care and beyond were fierce patient activist Casey Quinlan (@MightyCasey); futurists Ian Morrison (@seccurve) & Jeff Goldsmith; Jennifer Benz (@Jenbenz); and policy consultant/author Rosemarie Day (@Rosemarie_Day1).

Lots of chat about McKinsey and conflicts of interest, what’s next with COVID, where employers are now, and Casey has a unique idea about how to profit from data brokers.

You can see the video below live (and later archived) & if you’d rather listen than watch, the audio is preserved as a weekly podcast available on our iTunes & Spotify channels.

Celebrating the 12th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act in a Pandemic: Where Would We Be Without It?

BY ROSEMARIE DAY

When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law twelve years ago today, Joe Biden called it “a big f-ing deal.”  Little did he, or anyone else at that time, realize how big of a deal it was. Just ten years later, America was engulfed in a global pandemic, the magnitude of which hadn’t been seen in a century. Two years after that, the numbers are chilling: over 79 million people were infected, at least 878,613 were hospitalized, and 971,968 have died.

As bad as these numbers are, things would have been much worse if the ACA hadn’t come to pass. The ACA created an essential safety net that protected us from even more devastation. Covering over 20 million more people, it is the single largest health care program created since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. Thanks to the ACA:

  • The estimated 9.6 million people who lost their jobs during the pandemic didn’t have to worry as much about finding health care coverage if they got sick from Covid (or anything else) – they could shop for subsidized insurance on the public exchanges or apply for Medicaid. This helped millions of people to stay covered, which saved thousands of lives. In fact, the overall rate of uninsured people has not increased significantly during the pandemic, thanks to the safety net of these public health care programs.
  • The 79 million people who got Covid didn’t have to worry about whether their infection’s aftermath would result in acquiring a pre-existing condition that would prohibit them from buying health insurance in the future (if they couldn’t get coverage through their jobs).
  • Those who were burnt out from the pandemic and joined the Great Resignation did not have to worry that they would be locked out of health insurance coverage while they took a break or looked for a new job. According to the Harvard Business Review, resignation rates are highest among mid-career employees (those between 30 and 45 years old), a stage of life when health insurance is critical, given the formation of families and the emerging health issues that come with age. 

The ACA’s remarkable safety net framework made it far easier for policy makers to deploy federal funds during this unprecedented emergency. The American Rescue Plan Act , a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021, included provisions that built on the ACA, including more generous premium tax credit subsidies. Its predecessor, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) of 2020 enhanced Medicaid funding and required states to provide continuous Medicaid coverage.

  • For working- and middle-class people, the health insurance exchanges (both state and federal) provided one-stop shopping with enhanced federal subsidies which made health insurance more accessible for people who lost their employer-sponsored insurance. Many Americans who needed health insurance turned to the ACA marketplaces to find a plan. Amid the recent surge in resignations, the Biden administration announced that sign ups hit an all-time high of 14.5 million when open enrollment ended in January 2022.
  • For lower income people, the Medicaid program was there, stronger than ever, thanks to 38 states opting into the ACA’s expansion of the program. An increased federal matching contribution helped states to finance Medicaid enrollment during the worst of the economic downturn and prevented Medicaid disenrollments.
  • Additional benefits from these measures included reducing health disparities, ensuring mental health coverage, and helping new moms with more robust coverage.

Despite the ACA’s strong foundation and the many good things worth celebrating on its twelfth anniversary, there are difficulties ahead. The expanded premium subsidies and enhanced Medicaid funding are only temporary – both are set to expire this year. With that will come a loss of insurance coverage as people struggle to afford what’s on offer. On top of this, the public health emergency will be unwinding which will bring continuous Medicaid coverage to an end. And there are still too many uninsured people in this country (27.4 million). Retaining the expanded ACA benefits and finding other ways to build upon the ACA’s foundation are critical issues for the mid-term elections this fall.  

A recent study shows that support for the ACA and universal health care has increased during the pandemic. We shouldn’t “let a good crisis go to waste.” We need to make our voices heard and commit to building the future. We’ve had to expend far too much energy over the past decade defending the ACA and protecting it from repeal. The pain we’ve endured during this pandemic should not be for naught. Now is the time to assume an expansive posture of building toward universal health care. Retaining the expanded ACA benefits is an important incremental step. As difficult as the pandemic has been, it is providing a once-in-a-century opportunity to address America’s unfinished business in health care. The ACA is an excellent foundation. Let’s build on that so that we have a lasting cause for celebration.

Rosemarie Day is the Founder & CEO of Day Health Strategies and author of Marching Toward Coverage:  How Women Can Lead the Fight for Universal Healthcare (Beacon Press, 2020).  Follow her on Twitter:  @Rosemarie_Day1

THCB Gang Episode 84, Thursday March 3rd, 1pm PT 4pm ET

Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) on #THCBGang at 1pm PT 4pm ET Thursday for an hour of topical and sometime combative conversation on what’s happening in health care and beyond will be:  fierce patient activist Casey Quinlan (@MightyCasey); patient safety expert and all around wit Michael Millenson (@MLMillenson); THCB regular writer and ponderer of odd juxtapositions Kim Bellard (@kimbbellard); and policy consultant/author Rosemarie Day (@Rosemarie_Day1).

The video will be below. If you’d rather listen to the episode, the audio is preserved from Friday as a weekly podcast available on our iTunes & Spotify channels

THCB Gang Episode 82, Thursday Feb 10th

Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) on #THCBGang for an hour of conversation on the happenings in health care and beyond were writer Kim Bellard (@kimbbellard), delivery & tech expert Vince Kuraitis (@VinceKuraitis); and policy consultant/author Rosemarie Day (@Rosemarie_Day1).

Rosemarie very recently had some personal experiences with end of life care. We talked a lot about hospice and palliative care (and dementia) and, as Rosemarie says, about how little people seem to know about these incredibly important topics.

You can see the video below. If you’d rather listen than watch, the audio is preserved as a weekly podcast available on our iTunes & Spotify channels

THCB Gang Episode 75, Dec 16

Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) for an hour of topical and sometime combative conversation on what’s happening in health care and beyond were — medical historian Mike Magee (@drmikemagee); futurist Jeff Goldsmith; fierce patient activist Casey Quinlan (@MightyCasey); and policy consultant/author Rosemarie Day (@Rosemarie_Day1).

Plenty of talk about voting rights, the future of American “democracy” and much more, and we did get back to health care eventually. A great & fun, while important, conversation!

You can see the video below where it’s kept for posterity. If you’d rather listen than watch, the audio is preserved as a weekly podcast available on our iTunes & Spotify channels

THCB Gang Episode 70, Oct 28 1pm PT – 4pm ET

Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) on THCBGang Thursday were policy consultant/author Rosemarie Day (@Rosemarie_Day1); Queen of all employer benefits related issues Jennifer Benz (@Jenbenz); ; fierce patient activist Casey Quinlan (@MightyCasey); and Suntra Modern Recovery CEO JL Neptune (@JeanLucNeptune).

With bills in Congress and billions in VC floating around health care, there was plenty of fodder for discussion. We also got into a robust discussion about Medicare Advantage versus traditional FFS. But just so happened that with Casey Quinlan H.U.M.A.N.Jennifer BenzJean-Luc Neptune, MD MBA & Rosemarie Day we had four people who are either cancer survivors or care givers for cancer patients or both. If you are Adam PellegriniGena CookLiz HorganMaya Said or anyone else who cares about helping people with cancer navigate the system the last 10 minutes of this are market research gold for you

You can see the video below and the audio will be on our podcast channel (Apple/Spotify) from Friday — Matthew Holt

State-Based Marketplaces 2.0 Part 2: Engines of Innovation, Competition, and Consumerism

By ROSEMARIE DAY and DAVID W. JOHNSON

Within the current political reality, how can America implement policies that increase access to health insurance while also reducing premium costs and enhancing responsiveness to consumer priorities and needs? 

Large-scale healthcare reform appears off-the-table for the Biden Administration. Yet, given the impact of the COVID pandemic on people who have lost (or have worried about losing) their employer-based insurance coverage and the intensifying pressure to reduce overall healthcare costs, solutions that increase health insurance access and affordability have become more important than ever. A significant answer to this complex puzzle can be found at the state level. 

Enabled by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, state-based marketplaces (SBMs) currently operate in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Another six states operate as SBMs using the federal government’s HealthCare.gov technology platform. Three states, Kentucky, Maine, and New Mexico, will become full SBMs by 2022.

While federal measures to improve insurance access have stalled or been reversed over the past eight years, SBMs have quietly implemented programming modifications for stabilizing local markets that improve the quality and marketability of health insurance offerings to the benefit of consumers.

In Part 2 of our series on marketplace health plan innovations, we examine how SBMs have operated as experimental policy laboratories. They’ve taken their own paths to expand consumer choice, increase access to vital healthcare services, and lower premiums.

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