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Framing Paper Jun 29, 2016

The Changing Landscape of American Life Expectancy

During the past 100 years, life expectancy at birth has increased by about 25 years in the United States. However, certain groups—notably older whites and low-income Americans—find their mortality rates either stagnating or rising in recent years. In a new framing paper, The Hamilton Project examines the widening gap in life expectancy and explores policy reforms aimed at extending life expectancy gains for more Americans.

Policy Proposal Oct 7, 2015

Getting the Most from Marketplaces: Smart Policies on Health Insurance Choice

Substantial evidence shows that consumers often lack the high-quality information to select the best insurance plan, and once they have selected a plan they are less likely to switch, even as better plans become available. In response, Ben Handel and Jonathan Kolstad propose that exchanges develop a personalized decision support tool to give consumers the information they need to select the best plan. Additionally, they propose that exchanges establish a system of smart defaults, where an algorithm is used to move consumers to new plans if those plans deliver more value. 

Policy Proposal Oct 7, 2015

A Floor-and-Trade Proposal to Improve the Delivery of Charity-Care Services by Nonprofit Hospitals

Substantial evidence shows that consumers often lack the high-quality information to select the best insurance plan, and once they have selected a plan they are less likely to switch, even as better plans become available. In response, David Dranove, Craig Garthwaite and Christopher Ody propose that exchanges develop a personalized decision support tool to give consumers the information they need to select the best plan. Additionally, they propose that exchanges establish a system of smart defaults, where an algorithm is used to move consumers to new plans if those plans deliver more value. 

Economic Facts Oct 6, 2015

Six Economic Facts about Health Care and Health Insurance Markets after the Affordable Care Act

It is still too soon to completely know the effects of the Affordable Care Act on the health-care system. But looking beyond these considerations, it appears that many enduring economic challenges persist in the markets. In particular challenges like accessing care, delivering high-quality care without waste, and managing new technology. The Hamilton Project offers six economic facts that highlight continuing challenges and complexities in health care and health insurance markets on which the policy debate should focus.

Policy Proposal Oct 5, 2015

Correcting Signals for Innovation in Health Care

When Americans select health insurance, they cannot choose what technologies and treatments to include in their coverage. The fact that Americans have little choice but to buy widely-inclusive coverage sends a distorted signal to medical technology developers—that society is willing to pay practically any price for treatments that offer only incremental health benefits over existing technology. Nicholas Bagley, Amitabh Chandra and Austin Frakt propose three reforms to make health insurance, and ultimately medical innovation, reflect what consumers value.

Policy Proposal Jun 23, 2015

Strengthening Risk Protection through Private Long-Term Care Insurance

Americans currently spend over $300 billion a year on long-term services and supports (LTSS), paid for through government programs, private insurance, and importantly, individuals’ own out-of-pocket spending. Wesley Yin proposes changes to the financing of long-term care (LTC) insurance so that individuals can have more-affordable and more-complete insurance against long-term services and supports (LTSS) expenses, and so insurance firms can manage their risks more efficiently.

Policy Proposal Jun 16, 2014

Reducing Unintended Pregnancies for Low-Income Women

In this policy memo, Isabel Sawhill and Joanna Venator propose that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Population Affairs, in conjunction with state governments, reduce unintended pregnancies through a social marketing campaign to encourage more young women to use long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs). This proposal, targeted at unmarried women between the ages of 15 and 30, aims to expand awareness so more low-income women use a LARC or other method of contraception, thereby reducing the number of unintended pregnancies and lowering the number of children born into poverty. This proposal is chapter three of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Promoting Early Childhood Development.

Economic Analysis Nov 22, 2013

Hunger and the Important Role of SNAP as an American Safety Net

In this economic analysis, The Hamilton Project focuses on two critical issues related to SNAP: (1) the widespread existence of both food insecurity and obesity among low-income children in the United States, and (2) the role of SNAP in fighting poverty during times of weak labor markets. SNAP participation rises and falls in lockstep with the unemployment rate, highlighting SNAP’s role as a safety-net program that bolsters family resources when employment and wages are low.

Policy Proposal Feb 25, 2013

Restructuring Cost Sharing and Supplemental Insurance for Medicare

Cost sharing under the Medicare Parts A & B programs is both variable and uncapped, with an overall structure that is hard to rationalize. Jonathan Gruber proposes reforms to Medicare cost sharing that insures consumers against high out-of-pocket costs, aligns the costs faced by consumers with the actual cost of care, and discourages incentives in private plans that encourage excess use of Medicare benefits.