Tales from the Trail

What’s next on healthcare reform? — Enroll America

March 25, 2010

Democrats are still celebrating their historic achievement on healthcare reform, but the looming question is what’s next?

For Republicans and other opponents, it’s a campaign to repeal the law and replace it with something more to their liking.

For healthcare reform advocates and industry groups, including some who opposed the legislation, it’s implementation of the new law and getting people to sign up for coverage. cr_lrg_515_Pollack

Ron Pollack of Families USA, a healthcare advocacy group, is spearheading a massive effort called “Enroll America” that will try to make enrollment for new healthcare insurance subsidies and the expanded Medicaid program go as smoothly as possible.

The effort will involve healthcare advocacy groups as well as hospitals, insurers, pharmaceutical companies, doctors and community health centers, Pollack said.

America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry group that opposed the health reform legislation and became a target for sharp criticism from healthcare overhaul supporters, is also on board.

“All of them have a common interest in getting everyone enrolled whether it is for altruistic or business reasons, they all have a common reason for doing it,” Pollack said.

USA-HEALTHCARE/The group will work with federal and state regulators to help make the enrollment process simple and easy for people, perhaps enrolling them as they visit the doctor or hospital, Pollack said.

The law creates new state insurance exchanges in 2014 through which individuals without employer-sponsored insurance and small businesses can shop for coverage. Federal subsidies will be available to make it more affordable, and eligibility for Medicaid expanded in 2014 as well.

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Photo Credit Reuters/Jim Young (U.S. Senate Majority leader Reid signs a copy of the healthcare bill for Ron Pollack of  Families USA), Reuters/Lucas Jackson (doctor’s office in New York)

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