September 28, 2010: SHADAC Director Lynn Blewett and SHADAC Senior Economist Sharon Long blogged for Health Affairs last week, commenting on the important role individual states are playing in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Dr. Blewett and Dr. Long point out that states have unique opportunities to learn from one another as ACA implementation moves forward. For instance, state policy makers are already able to look to states like Massachusetts to identify strategies for implementing insurance exchanges. However, even as states look to one another for guidance, there is a critical need for data that allows people to evaluate the interaction between reform efforts and state-specific variables. Using state-level health data to bridge the gap between data and the policy-making process is more important now than ever before.
Dr. Blewett also commented on Minnesota’s data needs, in particular, when she spoke with Minnesota Public Radio’s Elizabeth Stawicki on September 27, 2010, about Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s recent decision to pass up discretionary funding made available to states under the ACA. Some of these funds would have paid for research modeling how Minnesota could set up its insurance exchange. Dr. Blewett observed that, as with most states, Minnesota currently doesn’t have the capacity for this kind of analysis without the ACA grant money, and the state has a lot of questions to answer in advance of exchange implementation.