4 fixes for healthcare reform implementation

The rollout of the Affordable Care Act has hardly been a smooth process with all the HealthCare.gov glitches and political fallout facing the Obama administration. Even President Barack Obama took to the media, speaking directly to consumers to apologize for his claim that everyone who likes their health plan can keep it after the reform law was implemented.

However, as The Atlantic reported, the Obama administration, and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services in particular, can make healthcare reform implementation a success by take the following actions:

Enroll young adults: Getting young, healthy adults to enroll in exchange plans is key to guaranteeing premiums don't increase under the reform law. To get the so-called "young invincible" population involved in their healthcare, the Obama administration should build upon the president's campaign successes at engaging young voter and use that knowledge to compel young people to sign up for insurance, according to the article. HHS must launch an enormous and strategic grassroots effort to get young Americans talking about health insurance.

Maximize Medicaid expansion: Despite many Republican-led states opposing Medicaid expansion, the Obama administration has successfully ensured at least half of all states are expanding the state-federal program. Most recently, the Obama administration has called out state leaders who have refused to expand Medicaid, claiming they're making a political statement at the expense of their residents' health. HHS should continue pressing states that haven't committed to a Medicaid expansion while also working with states that have to create an opt-in system, The Atlantic noted.

Take cues from state exchanges: While the federal exchange faces multiple technical challenges, several state-run marketplaces are faring much better, according to The Atlantic. That's why the Obama administration should work to reproduce the most successful state-operated exchanges like those in California, Connecticut, Kentucky, New York, Rhode Island and Washington that already surpassed federal enrollment rates.

Communicate exchange details: "There needs to be a communications SWAT team to help make the ACA sites and information as easy to understand and accurate as can be," The Atlantic states. One problem HHS must overcome is polls show uninsured consumers know about the individual mandate, but aren't aware about the exchanges. The agency needs to inform consumers about the details of the exchange sign-up process, including how to obtain health coverage and actually fill out the forms. And if a website operated by a private company is providing wrong information, HHS must address the inaccuracies; if some exchange forms are too hard to understand, HHS should correct them as well, the article noted.

To learn more:
- read the Atlantic article