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The Other Big C: Collaboration

Monday, May 1, 2017

With the uncertainty of the Affordable Care Act, the ACA policy brief at our annual conference was a packed house. Jim Hickman, Co-Chair of NCG's Bay Area Health Funders Group and CEO of Better Health East Bay, moderated the panel. Hear his takeaways from the conversation and how collaboration are changing. Read Jim's original article here

April 26, 2017
By Jim Hickman, CEO, Better Health East Bay 

Last week, I moderated a policy briefing on the Affordable Care Act at the sold-out Northern California Grantmakers 2017 Annual Conference in San Francisco. My panelists were Larry Levitt of the Henry J Kaiser Family FoundationChris Perrone from The California Healthcare Foundation and Patricia Tanquary from the Contra Costa Health Plan.

We discussed what’s at stake for California with Congressional discussions to repeal and replace the ACA:

  • 62% decrease in California’s uninsured population between 2012-16, achieving our lowest level of uninsured to date
  • $32.6 billion in annual federal assistance under the ACA
  • Subsidies enabling 86% of current 41,000 Covered CA enrollees in Contra Costa County and 66,000 enrollees in Alameda County to afford ACA coverage

Even more, the ACA has spurred pilots and collaborations to reform our health care delivery system and has shifted our mentality about what health care is to a more expansive view of health and how to improve health. California grantmakers have played a catalytic role in this shift, funding improvements and expansions in care and innovations in how health systems deliver that care.

In this environment, collaborations once considered unlikely pairings have flourished, like this public-private Emergency Department partnership in Alameda County. Statewide initiatives like the Medi-Cal 2020 Whole Person Care Pilots and funder collaborations like the California Accountable Communities for Health Initiative have created opportunities for local grantmakers to influence the scope and impact of health care delivery at the community level.

While the national debate about access and coverage will rage on, California can and will remain a pioneer in health care access and innovation. Local grantmakers should move forward with no regrets in this shifting political landscape by working together in pursuit of our shared value to provide better care at lower cost. In this whirlwind, let’s stay true to our roots and expand local collaborations that raise the quality and safety of care and lowers its costs.