• Analysis or Summary
  • February 24, 2017

The Essentials of Health Policy Sourcebook

This is CHA’s summary of the following resource.

Report: The Essentials of Health Policy: A Sourcebook for Journalists and Policymakers
Source: The Alliance for Health Reform 
Date: February 2017
Format: Reference Materials


The Sourcebook provides a one-stop reference on key topics across the full spectrum of the health care system.  Each chapter contains fast facts, clear & comprehensive background information, and experts you can contact for more information.

In the Sourcebook

Private Coverage 
Private health insurance, including employer-based insurance, insurance sold on the ACA marketplaces, and other forms of individual health insurance coverage.

Fast fact: Nearly 3 million people neither qualify for Medicaid nor for marketplace subsidies and have remained uninsured (source).

The federal health insurance program for people age 65 and older and for other adults who qualify due to having a permanent disability or end-stage renal disease.

Fast fact: While most Medicare beneficiaries are age 65 and older, 9.1 million (16 percent) are younger people with disabilities (source). 

Medicaid and CHIP 

State-federal partnerships that provide health coverage for people with low incomes, children, pregnant women, parents of dependent children and disabled individuals.

Fast fact: Medicaid is the largest public source of health coverage in the United StatesSeventy three million Americans had health coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program in 2016 (source).

Affordable Care Act 
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law in March 2010.

Fast fact: The ACA includes provisions geared toward improving population health. These activities include community initiatives, research, public health infrastructure, immunizations and screenings, and public health workforce and training (source). 

Health Care Costs 
The drivers of health care costs, federal spending, consumer spending, and industry consolidation.

Fast fact:  Federal spending for the major health care programs—Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and subsidies offered through health insurance exchanges, as well as related spending, totaled $936 billion in 2015 (source).

Delivery System Reform
Innovations in payment and delivery systems, in both the public and private sectors.

Fast fact: As of January 2016, 838 active accountable care organizations (ACOs) had formed in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., caring for 28.3 million individuals (source).

Social Determinants of Health
The conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age that affect their health.

Fast fact: Asthma is more prevalent in minority and low-income communities, affecting 11.2 percent of those below 100 percent of the poverty level, compared to 7.3 percent of those with incomes over 200 percent of the poverty level (source).

Mental Health and Substance Abuse 
Behavioral health, addiction, and the health care system that treats these issues.

Fast fact: Over two-thirds of percent of primary care providers report that they are unable to connect patients with outpatient behavioral health providers due to a shortage of mental health providers and health insurance barriers (source).

Public Health and Prevention 
Protecting and improving the health of communities through promotion of healthy lifestyles, research, and detection and control of infectious diseases.

Fast fact: Around 17 percent (13 million) of U.S. children ages 2-19 are obese and 35 percent (78 million) of U.S. adults are obese (source).

Long-Term Services and Supports 
Formal and informal aid that focuses on those who are unable to take care of themselves due to age, disability or illness.

Fast fact: In 2013, national spending on long-term services and supports (LTSS) totaled about $310 billion. Medicaid paid nearly half of that amount, at about $123 billion (source).