Understanding Consumer Debt And Student Loan Default

A new report from the Urban Institute report provides the first look at the relationship between a borrower’s credit history and the probability of default. Using nationally representative data from one of the nation’s three credit bureaus and following student borrowers who entered repayment in 2012, new light is shed on who defaults. 

The report can be obtained at https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/98884/underwater_on_student_debt.pdf.

Expanding Health Coverage Without The Individual Mandate

The end of the individual mandate penalty in 2019 and the Trump administration's promotion of short-term health plans are among recent policy changes that significantly could erode the ability to find affordable, comprehensive coverage in the individual insurance market. In a new Commonwealth Fund report, RAND researchers examine several options for making health insurance more accessible to Americans who shop for their own coverage.

The report can be obtained at https://www.commonwealthfund.org/sites/default/files/2018-08/Liu_expanding_enrollment_without_mandate.pdf.

Education Department Plans To Repeal Gainful Employment Rules

An announcement from the Department of Education reveals that it plans to repeal the Obama administration’s gainful employment rule. In place of the rule, the Department plans to expand program-level outcomes data available from the College Scorecard, but without any measures that punish those programs with poor outcomes.

More information can be obtained at https://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/reg/hearulemaking/2017/gainfulemployment.html.

Proposed Overhaul Of Medicare’s Accountable Care Organization Program

On August 9, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule that would overhaul the Medicare Shared Savings Program, which is the program established by the Affordable Care Act and launched in 2012 under which the vast majority of Medicare’s Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) operate.  The redesigned program is called “Pathways to Success.”

More information can be obtained at https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-proposes-pathways-success-overhaul-medicares-aco-program.

Exploring The Growth Of Medicaid Managed Care

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) presents information on enrollment in and spending for Medicaid managed care and analyzes factors affecting those measures—including the types of beneficiaries, geographic areas, and range of services that managed care programs cover.

The report can be obtained at https://www.cbo.gov/system/files?file=2018-08/54235-MMC_chartbook.pdf.

The Role Of States In Regulating Short-Term Health Plans

The Trump Administration issued a final rule on August 3, 2018 reversing federal limits on short-term health coverage, allowing such plans to become a long-term alternative to individual-market coverage. To the Point, a publication of The Commonwealth Fund, discusses how insurance departments in the 17 states that run their own marketplaces are working on the eve of this policy shift.

More information can be obtained at https://www.commonwealthfund.org/blog/2018/do-states-know-short-term-health-plan-markets.

Building Capacity to Respond to Threats to the Public's Health and National Security

The Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Disasters and Emergencies at the National Academy of Sciences hosted a 2-day public workshop on March 20 and 21, 2018 to explore several objectives developed by a planning committee, including the private health system and federal perspectives on the nation’s capacity to respond to threats to health, safety, and security.

A workshop report can be obtained at https://www.nap.edu/read/25203/chapter/1#vi.

Department Of Health & Human Services Issues Final Rule On Short-Term, Limited-Duration Insurance

Published in today’s edition of the Federal Register, the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury issued a final rule to allow for the sale and renewal of short-term, limited-duration plans that cover longer periods than the previous maximum period of less than three months. Such coverage now can cover an initial period of less than 12 months, and, taking into account any extensions, a maximum duration of no longer than 36 months in total. The action is aimed at helping increase choices for Americans faced with escalating premiums and dwindling options in the individual insurance market.

The final rule can be obtained at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-08-03/pdf/2018-16568.pdf.

U.S. Population More Educated Than Ever Before

For the first time, the percentage of the American population age 25 and older that completed high school or higher levels of education reached 90 percent in 2017. The nation has made giant strides in education since 1940, when only 24 percent of individuals age 25 and older had finished four years of high school or more, according to recently released educational attainment data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey.

Data can be obtained at https://www.census.gov/data/tables/2017/demo/education-attainment/cps-detailed-tables.html?eml=gd&utm_campaign=20180801msacos1ccstors&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery.

Literacy And Numeracy Skills Of U.S. Men And Women

A Data Point report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) examines literacy and numeracy skills of U.S. men and women. They did not have different literacy scores, but men had higher numeracy scores overall, as well as in each age group and educational attainment level examined. Levels of literacy and numeracy affect how successful patients are in interacting effectively with health care providers.

The report can be obtained at https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2018/2018164.pdf.

IPEC Webinar on the Opioid Epidemic

On Thursday, August 30 at 2:00 p.m. ET the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) will be hosting a free webinar titled “An IPE Approach to the Opioid Epidemic” featuring panelists Drs. Patricia J. Ohtake (University at Buffalo) and Wendy E. Braund (University of Pittsburgh). Drs. Ohtake and Braund will share remarks on designing and implementing collaborative strategies in response to the opioid epidemic.

For additional information and to register for this webinar, click here.

Department of Education's Proposal for Deregulation and Innovation

The Department of Education's principal deputy for higher education, Diane Auer Jones, discussed the Department's proposal to reduce federal oversight of accreditors, re-examine online education requirements, drop the Obama Administration's definition of the credit hour, possibly expand the use of Pell grants for short-term programs, and require detailed justification from colleges that reject transfer credits.

Read the full article here.

Impact Of State-Based Mandates On Insurance Coverage And Premium Costs

An analysis from the Urban Institute provides state-by-state estimates of the impact on insurance coverage, premiums, and mandate penalty revenues if the states were to adopt individual mandates. If all states did so, the number of uninsured would be lower by 3.9 million individuals in 2019 and by 7.5 million in 2022. On average, marketplace premiums would be 11.8% lower in 2019. 

The report can be obtained at https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/98805/2001925_state_based_individual_mandates_2.pdf.

House Democrats Introduce HEA Reauthorization Bill

House Education and Workforce Committee Democrats introduced their version of Higher Education Act reauthorization, the “Aim Higher Act”, which highlights Democratic priorities in higher education.

Please find a link to a detailed summary of the bill, along with three fact sheets, including a comparison of key provisions with the “PROSPER Act”, which the Majority moved through the House Education and Workforce Committee along party lines late last year.

The “Aim Higher Act” has several themes including:

  • “Making college more affordable today – by investing in federal student aid –  and helps states make public college tuition more affordable in the future – by incentivizing states to reinvest in higher education,
  • Cracking down on predatory for-profit institutions that target students and veterans with expensive, low-quality programs,
  • Protecting and expanding the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which is eliminated in the GOP PROSPER Act, and makes student loans simpler and easier to repay,
  • Providing students the tools they need to graduate on time with a quality degree, and
  • Investing in teachers and strengthens training for teachers and school leaders to improve the quality of our schools”. 

While this bill is not expected to move forward in the Republican controlled Congress, it provides a sense of Democrats’ priorities if they regain the Majority in the House of Representatives next year.

Seeking Gender Equity In Health Care

Despite their growing presence in healthcare, women continue to remain pessimistic about achieving parity in the workplace, according to a Rock Health report. More than half (55%) expect it will take at least 25 years to reach parity with men, up from 45% in 2017. Only 5% believe parity will happen in the next five years, down from 8% last year.

The report can be obtained at https://rockhealth.com/reports/women-in-healthcare-2018/.

Detailed Occupation And Education Data Made Available

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today the first release of a table package showing detailed occupation and education for individuals age 25 and older. The tables were created with statistics from the 2016 American Community Survey and include data under two sub-headings: (1) Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations, and (2) Healthcare Support Occupations.

The tables show detailed occupation by:

§  Number of workers by sex and education for full-time, year-round workers.

§  Median earnings by sex and education for full-time, year-round workers.

§  Median age by sex and education for full-time, year-round workers.

ASAHP Joins Joint Letter to Congressional Appropriators on FY19 HRSA Funding

ASAHP joined members of the Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition (HPNEC) in a letter to House and Senate appropriators that calls for $690 million for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Title VII health professions and Title VIII nursing workforce development programs for fiscal year 2019.

The HPNEC letter is available here.

Stabilizing And Strengthening The Individual Health Insurance Market

A report from the Brookings Institution examines the causes of instability in the individual market and identifies measures to help improve stability based on information obtained from 10 states.

The report can be obtained at https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Stabilizing-and-Strenghtening-the-Individual-Health-Insurance-Market2.pdf.

Health Care Employment Experiences Steady Growth

A report from the Altarum Institute indicates that health care added 25,200 new jobs in June 2018, consistent with the 12-month average of 25,800 new jobs per month. Employment increased by 309,000 over the past year. Hospitals added 10,600 jobs in June, higher than the 12-month average of 7,900. Ambulatory settings such as physician offices and home health added 13,500 new jobs, lower than the 12-month average of 17,000.

The report can be obtained at https://altarum.org/sites/default/files/uploaded-related-files/SHSS-Labor-Brief_July_2018.pdf.