Tennesseee Health Care Campaign (THCC)

Working for guaranteed affordable choices

Consumers Voices Will Be Heard!

Posted by Susan McKay on August 27, 2010

State Government Is In Charge of Implementing the New Health Care Law in Tennessee

It’s our job to make sure consumers have a voice in the process!

We want and need the new law to work for us. This means we need to be a part of the implementation. How?

As the state’s leading nonprofit consumer health advocacy organization, the Tennessee Health Care Campaign is forming work groups.
What’s an IWG?
THCC’s Implementation Work Groups, or IWGs, will be made up of Tennesseans from around the state who are supportive of THCC and the new health care law.  The groups will meet monthly by conference call in order to become better informed about implementation and to help advance our interests as consumers and constituents.

Getting ahead of the curve
Many decisions will be made in 2011 about the Insurance Exchange, insurance regulations, TennCare expansion, and other benefits to comply with the new health care law. Are you ready to fully participate? Studies show that if our state does a poor job with implementation as many as 125,000 Tennesseans will be left out — but this does not have to happen! Studies also show that strong consumer advocacy results in better outcomes.

Implementation Work Group (IWG) Overview:

Behavioral Health: Even though mental health benefits will be regulated by federal guidelines and implemented at the state level in the Exchange, there are many uncertainties about the mental health infrastructure in Tennessee and how these services will be folded into reform. What must we do to ensure that there is parity in 2014?

Health Disparities: There are racial, ethnic, and geographic disparities in health care access and health outcomes across our state. What steps do we take to correct this outrageous situation?

Health Information Technology: We may be technologically advanced and have high-tech medical care, but the way our medical professionals communicate with us and each other to ensure that we get the highest quality of care leaves much to be desired. What must we do to advance health information technology in Tennessee?

Insurance Exchange: Up to 350,000 Tennesseans will be eligible for the new health insurance exchange, which will be an organized marketplace where individuals and small businesses can compare and shop for insurance plans that meet specific regulations for consumer protections and minimum benefits. How do we make sure that the Tennessee Exchange is holding insurance companies accountable? How do we ensure maximum participation? This group will address affordability, benefits, small business market, insurance reform, mental health, and financing.

Prevention: Preventive services will be central to reform. These services will be core to Medicare, TennCare, and the private insurance market. How can consumers advance this core value?

TennCare Expansion: Up to 350,000 Tennesseans will be eligible for the expansion. Legislators are balking at Tennessee’s investment for expansion, but the state’s 5¢ to the fed’s 95¢ is an outstanding deal in providing health care to the most vulnerable of our neighbors. How do we make the case that this is the most efficient and cost-effective way to cover low-income individuals and families in Tennessee? How do we make sure that the state fulfills its end of the bargain?

Waste Reduction & Safety Assurance: The U.S. spends twice as much per person on health care than any other developed country, yet the World Health Organization ranks our health care system 37th. We’re not getting our money’s worth. How can we improve quality and safety, and cut waste? What are the roles of  patients, doctors, hospitals, and insurers?

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