The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation believes health insurance coverage is essential for good health and should be available to all Americans. The Foundation operates on the principle that coverage should be:
- Comprehensive (i.e., include all necessary, appropriate, and effective health care services);
- Continuous and portable;
- High-quality and cost-effective; and
- Grounded in a shared responsibility between the public sector, the private sector, and individuals.
The enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in March 2010 presents a historic opportunity to expand health coverage. With effective implementation of this law, we can greatly reduce the number of uninsured Americans.
More than 48 million people in the United States are living without health insurance, including 7 million children. Lack of coverage often leads to unnecessary suffering and even premature death. Having a job – even a full-time job – does not guarantee coverage. More than three-quarters of the uninsured are in working families.
While the ACA makes a significant expansion in health coverage possible, covering more Americans relies, in large part, on state action. Accordingly, a great deal of the Coverage team’s attention has moved to the states.
What We Fund
Technical Assistance to States. Technical Assistance to States. The Foundation assists states in optimally implementing the ACA to cover the highest possible number of Americans. Our technical assistance focuses on: (1) the creation of health insurance exchanges; (2) the opportunity to expand state Medicaid programs; (3) the establishment of seamless eligibility determination, enrollment, and retention systems; and (4) the enactment and oversight of small-group and individual insurance market reforms.
Ten states – Alabama, Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Virginia – were selected to participate in the State Health Reform Assistance Network (State Network). State Network states serve as laboratories for creative solutions and innovation, and are a source of information for all states as they work through implementation.
Other Foundation work to help states expand coverage includes StateReforum.org – a project of the Foundation and the National Association for State Health Policy – created to help state health policy-makers share best practices. The Foundation also supports the Medicaid Leadership Institute, an intensive professional development program that helps Medicaid directors gain the skills and expertise to promote quality and efficiency in the Medicaid program.
The Voice of Health Care Consumers. To ensure that the health care consumer remains at the center of state center of state and federal health reform efforts, Consumer Voices for Coverage (CVC) was created as an initiative of the Foundation and Community Catalyst. CVC supports and mobilizes state-based consumer advocacy networks in the same states where the Foundation provides technical assistance to bring the views of real people into discussions around coverage issues.
Policy Analysis and Research. The Foundation supports research and analysis to assist state health leaders. We are proud to support real-time policy analysis by the Urban Institute, the State Health Access Data Assistance Center at the University of Minnesota, and Changes in Health Care Financing and Organization, which is our long-standing initiative that supports investigator-initiated research.
What We Don't Fund
The Foundation does not fund direct health care services to individuals, or direct subsidies for health insurance. The Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals for its work in coverage.
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