Rolling Out the Affordable Care Act Out West

Last summer, the Colorado Health Institute accepted an invitation to join a network of health policy analysts and academicians across the United States who are taking an in-depth look at the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

CHI’s report on the ACA in Colorado is included in the first of a series focusing on how states are responding to the new law. The inaugural reports, released today, summarize early implementation decisions and activities of eight Western states, which have generally embraced the new law. Subsequent reports will examine the response to the ACA in the South, Midwest and Northeast.

The CHI team of Jeff Bontrager, director of research on coverage and access, Kevin Butcher, research assistant, and Sara Schmitt, director of community health policy, wrote the report on Colorado. They are among a diverse and talented network of researchers in 35 states participating in the project, which is sponsored by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, the public policy research arm of the State University of New York, and the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania.

“Over the long run, our goal is to provide accessible, user-friendly, clear and even-handed reports that can aid the public, governments, service providers and experts in the arduous process of reforming American health care," said Richard P. Nathan, Rockefeller Institute senior fellow and director of the project.

Bontrager said the Colorado report examines the history of health care reform in Colorado and the state’s approach to carrying out provisions of the ACA. Among other things, the report and others consider the politics of health care in each state, the characteristics and leadership of health insurance exchanges, consumer outreach and education activities, decisions on Medicaid expansion, and much more.

“We decided to participate in the project since we were already monitoring the implementation of federal and state health reforms in Colorado,” Bontrager said. “Colorado’s decisions to fully adopt the ACA’s coverage provisions provided a unique opportunity for CHI to assess the impacts of these actions and share our analysis with state partners and others across the country.”

The CHI report on Colorado and those by researchers in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington can be found by clicking here.