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Informing Policy. Advancing Health.

A Big Week: Waivers, Brews and Views, and the CHAS Hits the Field

A Big Week: Waivers, Brews and Views, and the CHAS Hits the Field

With the legislative session nearing its halfway point, the Colorado Health Institute team has been busy with everything from answering legislative information requests to giving presentations at the Capitol to planning a new effort for us – a policy discussion to be had with a drink in hand.

CHI is offering the second installment of our Legislative Learning Series on Wednesday. Unlike past events, this presentation will be in the morning from 7:30 a.m to 9 a.m., a Links and Learn rather than a Lunch and Learn.

Amy Downs, Senior Director for Policy and Analysis, is teaming with Senior Analyst Tasia Sinn, to present “Waiving Goodbye: Can Colorado Really Rewrite Federal Health Care Laws?” Their talk will focus on federal waivers that give states the ability to tailor health reform efforts to their local needs and populations. They will also talk about innovations underway in the Medicaid public insurance program in Colorado.

This will be the second legislative appearance in under a week for Amy and Tasia. They spoke on Thursday to members of the House Committee on Health, Insurance and Environment during a hearing for House Bill 15-1143. The bill, sponsored by Rep.  Kathleen Conti (R), would provide tax credits for home improvements that allow people to age at home rather than moving to a nursing facility. CHI does not lobby or take positions on bills, but we offer research and information to legislators so that they can make informed decisions.

Meanwhile, this is a big week for the Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court is scheduled on Wednesday to hear the King vs. Burwell case, which challenges the constitutionality of providing tax subsidies on the federal insurance marketplace.

CHI will host a panel of experts on Thursday, the day after arguments, at the Denver Beer Company as part of a new series called “Brews and Views.” The expert panelists include: Melissa Hart, director of the Byron R. White Center for the Study of American Constitutional Law and the University of Colorado Law School, Denver attorney Gerald Niederman, an expert in health care law, and Leo Tokar, senior vice president of the benefits department of Lockton Companies Inc., an insurance brokerage.

Doors to the taproom at 1695 Platte St. open at 3:30 p.m. and the discussion starts at 4 p.m. For more details and to RSVP, visit our Facebook page.

In other big news, team CHI is proud to announce that the 2015 Colorado Health Access Survey (CHAS) has entered the field.  Findings from the CHAS will be the first in-depth indication of how the ACA is impacting Coloradans, including who has and hasn’t gained insurance and whether the newly insured are getting access to health care. The CHAS will be among the first statewide household surveys to include questions specifically designed to help evaluate health reform.

CHAS project leader Natalie Triedman, a policy analyst at CHI, participated in a webinar hosted by the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) for states interested in how to measure the impact of health reform. The Urban Institute and the state of Oregon also spoke.

Meanwhile, our latest research brief, “Filling the Dental Gap: Can Colorado Meet the Growing Need?” is receiving attention in Colorado and nationally. John Daley, the health reporter at Colorado Public Radio, filed this story quoting project leader Sara Schmitt, director of community health policy. Reporter Phil Galewitz of Kaiser Health News wrote a story that appeared on both the Kaiser Health News site and in USA Today.

Finally, CHI is looking forward to a visit from Karen Minyard, executive director of the Georgia Health Policy Center, who will be the featured speaker for the Denver Public Health Grand Rounds on Wednesday. Her talk is titled, “Joining Forces to Improve Health Outcomes in Metro Atlanta.” Her lecture is scheduled from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at the History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway. Register today to reserve your seat.