- Penn Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics is partnering with a new group dubbed United States of Care, chaired by former CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt, to research policies to expand health coverage.
- United States of Care's founder's council includes dozens of heavy hitters in the healthcare industry, such as former Tenet CEO Trevor Fetter, former Republican HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, Dignity Health CEO Lloyd Dean, investor Mark Cuban, former CMS Deputy Administrator and CEO of Blue Cross North Carolina Dr. Patrick Conway and Kaiser Family Foundation CEO Drew Altman.
- Their first effort is a report highlighting successful state efforts toward coverage expansion.
Slavitt, a frequent critic of health policies in the Trump administration, said the new organization will not be defined by any single policy proposal but is based on three core principles. They are that all Americans should have access to a regular source of care and should not face financial devastation as a result of that care, and that policies should be fiscally responsible with enough political support to endure.
"Some are skeptical that we will ever get past the current political stalemate," Slavitt wrote in an op-ed for USA Today. "This will not happen overnight. Our first step is a national listening tour to hear from families and local experts and turn what we learn into real policy changes, beginning at the state level."
The Affordable Care Act wasn't repealed root to branch last year despite Republicans controlling both the White House and Congress. Failure to repeal and replace the ACA has led to the question: What next?
Most Americans want universal access to healthcare, although there are myriad disagreements about how to achieve that goal. A handful of high-profile Democrats are pursuing a Medicare-for-all program, but the idea is not be politically feasible anytime soon. Congress currently is having trouble even keeping basic health programs funded.
Still, the ACA proved more popular among the general public during last year's repeal efforts.
The partnership with Penn LDI is part of the institute’s work on insurance reform, with a focus on improving access to and affordability, especially for low-income populations. It aims to provide evidence on current and potential policy proposals into discourse.
Penn LDI and United States of Care released a report of some state efforts to close the coverage gap. It looks at how different states build, or fail to build, the popular and political will toward healthcare coverage for all residents.
For example, Massachusetts, despite being "built upon pre-ACA scaffolding," avoided the political problems a massive growth in government spending might produce because most residents gained insurance through employers. Other states reviewed include Vermont, Colorado, California and Nevada.