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To Improve Mental Health Care in Michigan: The Need for Unprecedented Commitment and Cooperation

Editor’s Note: This column appeared in Bridge Magazine. Soon, many hundreds of thousands of Michigan citizens will be obtaining mental health coverage through the Affordable Care Act—coverage that many have never had before. Our Center wanted to understand what Michiganders might be facing in terms of the need for these services and access to care. To find out, we surveyed …

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The Hunger for Debate: Communication and the Affordable Care Act

On November 4, our Center—along with the Knight-Wallace Fellows at Michigan, Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, and Michigan Radio—held a symposium at the University of Michigan on communication of the Affordable Care Act. The symposium was energetic and the panelists thoughtful. But, what has been most striking to me has been the reaction we have received from those who …

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New Products on the Health Insurance Exchange: What is Old Becomes New

When I was at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, we used to say that you couldn’t sell any products without having all key providers included in them. But, that was at a time when health benefits were considered “fringe benefits,” unions were powerful drivers of benefit designs and employers covered most of the health insurance premium. Times, however, are …

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Explaining the Affordable Care Act

Health care reform is indeed a journey—not a destination. And, judging from all of the requests that our Center is getting to explain the Affordable Care Act, it is probably going to be a journey for a very long time (assuming, of course, that it doesn’t get “defunded”/ delayed/repealed or otherwise stopped in the next few couple of weeks!). So, …

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The Importance of Federally Qualified Health Centers and the ACA

Editor’s Note: This column appeared in Bridge Magazine. About six months after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010, our Center hosted a symposium in Ann Arbor on the future of the health care safety net. Sara Rosenbaum, an expert on both the ACA and federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), spoke at the event and her remarks emphasized …

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Patient Engagement and Shared Decision Making: Is This the Moment?

Patient engagement is a hot topic in health care right now. Providers, regulators and health plans are all trying to figure out how to better involve patients in their own medical care. Shared decision making—a concept that grew out of Jack Wennberg’s work on regional variation in the use of health care services—is a tool that fits right into the …

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The Power of Incentives: The Story of Electronic Medical Records

In 1999, The Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a seminal report on the safety of health care in the U.S.: To Err is Human. The IOM noted that up to 98,000 deaths occurred annually as a result of errors in the health care system. They recommended systemic change to improve the safety of the system. One of the recommendations included …

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Obamacare seems to be Helping to Curtail Health Care Costs

Editor’s Note: This column previously appeared in Bridge Magazine. In recent months, a conversation has burgeoned in health and public policy forums about the slowdown in the growth of health care spending. We are all asking the same questions: Is this slowdown real? Are some of the past cost containment efforts and recent provisions in the ACA beginning to take …

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