There are more insured people than ever before in New Mexico – more than 300,000 additional people are insured because of federal health care reform. This is exciting news for our entire state, and we want to learn more about how the Affordable Care Act has affected New Mexicans.
We are seeking those answers now, and we would like your help. As the state’s largest private foundation dedicated solely to improving health, Con Alma Health Foundation applied for and received a $200,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation that allows us to study how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is functioning here in New Mexico.
When our study is complete, we expect to have a deeper understanding of the gaps and strengths of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). With that knowledge, we will make recommendations for how policy makers can fix what’s not working and make the best use of federal health-care reform.
There are a few groups keeping an eye on how ACA is playing out in New Mexico. What makes our project unique is we’re looking specifically at how the ACA is helping us achieve health equity – when all people have an equal chance at living healthy lives regardless of their zip code, ethnicity or income. All of our initiatives, including this project, focus on that critical issue.
We are fortunate to work with the New Mexico Alliance of Health Councils to ensure local communities are represented and the University of New Mexico’s Health Sciences Center and Robert Wood Johnson Center for Health Policy. Local county and tribal health councils are working with the Department of Health to gather input from people all across New Mexico.
UNM researchers are interviewing stakeholders who have been involved with implementing the ACA in New Mexico including government administrators, enrollment brokers, health care providers and advocates to see how the reform is working for our most vulnerable children and their families. The team will also look at the State’s efforts to get families enrolled in health insurance to learn whether outreach work is distributed in a fair, equitable way.
“I think having a before and after snapshot on the impact of the ACA can help with public accountability so that our tax dollars are directed at advancing health equity for vulnerable children and families,” said Lisa Cacari Stone, Ph.D., an associate professor at UNM who is leading the research for Con Alma.
Like all of our projects, we are getting stakeholders involved. About 100 business and nonprofit leaders, government workers, decision makers and social-service advocates met with us in Albuquerque this spring to share their experiences with ACA – the biggest cross-sector gathering so far in New Mexico to discuss the ACA. When we finish our study, we will hold another convening so people can work together to make the best use of health care reform in New Mexico.
If you want to tell Con Alma how the Affordable Care Act is working in your life, please visit http://conalma.org/2015-aca-survey/.