Real World Health Care Blog

Tag Archives: New York Times

President Obama Urges “Millenials” to Sign up for Coverage under Affordable Care Act

In recent days the Obama Administration has been intensifying outreach efforts to increase the number of young people who enroll for insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) before the March 31, 2014 deadline.

Paul DeMiglio

Paul DeMiglio

During a speech in Boston on Oct. 30, President Obama pushed back against criticism of ACA – which he signed into law in March 2010 – by seeking to draw parallels to the Massachusetts’ health care insurance law (“Romneycare”) that then-Governor Mitt Romney signed into law four years earlier.

“And if it was hard doing it just in one state, it’s harder to do it in all 50 states, especially when the governors of a bunch of states and half of the Congress aren’t trying to help. Yes, it’s hard, but it’s worth it. It is the right thing to do, and we are going to keep moving forward. We are going to keep working to improve the law, just like you did here in Massachusetts.”

Governor Romney, on the other hand, rejected the comparison, describing the “Obamacare” rollout as a “frustrating embarrassment” that has failed to learn “the lessons of Massachusetts’ health care.”

However, the two laws did face similar challenges at the start of their implementation, especially among young people. Romneycare saw an extremely low registration rate among younger demographics until the deadline. Likewise – although the White House set a goal of getting 2.7 million 18-34 year olds signed up through HealthCare.gov by the end of March – a recent study by the Commonwealth Fund revealed that only one in five people who visited the federal or state enrollment sites were 18-29.

A Dec. 4 article in The New York Times makes the case that many young people are likely to follow enrollment patterns that were similar to those in Massachusetts in 2006 – by pushing it off until the deadline hits.

“The experience of Massachusetts under Gov. Mitt Romney showed that most people, especially young people, acted only when they approached a deadline,” write Jonathan Weisman and Michael Shear, “and with the federal law, the deadline to have insurance or pay a penalty is months away.”

According to an Oct. 30 article in Business Insider, two former Massachusetts officials who played major roles in creating and rolling out the Massachusetts health law — Jonathan Gruber and Jon Kingsdale – say successful implementation of massive health care changes can come slowly at first:

“In Massachusetts, the officials said, only .03% of the share of Massachusetts residents who eventually enrolled for health insurance signed up in the first month the law went into effect. In the final month of enrollment, before the mandate to purchase insurance kicked in, more than 20% of the final tally signed up.”

Last week President Obama renewed strategies to increase enrollment rates by actively engaging young people, who are widely seen as critical to the financial stability of Obamacare. Addressing 160 participants from across the country at the Dec. 4 Youth Summit, the President urged “Millenials” – including DJs, entrepreneurs and organizational heads – to talk up Obamacare and get their peers to sign up on HealthCare.gov.

The Washington Post is reporting signs that enrollment among younger Americans is beginning to pick up, with a three-day total of about 56,000 from Dec. 1-3 – more than twice the number of online signups on HealthCare.gov during the entire month of October.

Now tell us what you think. Can Romneycare serve as an effective model for implementation of Obamacare, especially with respect to generating more signups among younger population demographics? What, if any, provisions from that law are applicable to rolling out the ACA? Have you tried to enroll on HealthCare.gov and were you successful?

Categories: Access to Care

Thanks Project Underscores Why Caregivers Matter to Patient Care

Although many people don’t see themselves as caregivers, more than 65 million Americans provide care on a daily basis for their vulnerable loved ones. This statistic, highlighted by Jeff Foxworthy along with Peter Rosenberger in a video created by AARP, demonstrates the importance of caregivers as advocates work to raise awareness around National Family Caregivers Month.

To say “thanks to as many caregivers as [they] can,” AARP and the Advertising Council are partnering to empower patients and their families to show their appreciation for those who care for them by sharing a personal message, photo or video of gratitude through the Thanks Project. This online tool recognizes family members and friends who are dedicated to taking care of loved ones and makes caregiving resources more accessible so that individuals know they’re not alone and that help is available.

According to a Nov. 5 New York Times story, most people who are caregivers do not identify as such, often feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities that can range from managing bills to providing transportation and preparing meals. To offer emotional support, AARP created a Caregiving site that provides everything from Planning and Resources to information addressing End of Life Care, as well as Grief and Loss. This web portal also enables visitors to chat with experts and ask questions, in addition to learning more about the experiences of those who care for loved ones.

“Since launching the Caregiver Assistance campaign with the Ad Council in August 2012, we have seen more than 10 million visits to AARP’s Caregiving Resource Center,” said Elizabeth Bradley, Strategic Communications Director of the Caregiver campaign. “Through the site, users are connected to valuable local resources and practical information, can find support to handle family dynamics and life-balancing issues, and engage and connect with experts and other caregivers. We hope caregivers feel more appreciated for their hard work and inspired to do the best they can.”

The Caregiver Action Network (CAN), which sponsors National Family Caregivers Month, is also highlighting the difference caregivers make in the lives of those they serve every day. As the leading family caregiver organization working to improve the quality of life for the 65 million+ Americans who care for loves ones, CAN provides online tools to help caregivers handle the responsibilities that come with buying groceries, organizing mail, cleaning homes and so much more.

In a recent Presidential Proclamation spotlighting National Family Caregivers Month, the Obama Administration helped draw national attention to the value of caregivers, who “take up the selfless and unheralded work of delivering care to seniors or people with disabilities or illnesses…With caregivers already balancing their own needs with those of their loved ones, and in many cases caring for both young children and aging parents, our Nation’s caregivers need and deserve our support.”

Paul DeMiglio

Paul DeMiglio

Do you know a caregiver or provide care for a loved one? How do you think individuals, communities and industry stakeholders can collectively mobilize to demonstrate appreciation for caregivers and more effectively strengthen support networks? Share your story and let us know what resources and strategies you think would be most useful.