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Thursday, April 17, 2014: What's Preventing Prevention?

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Published on Apr 17, 2014

What's Preventing Prevention?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The event was sponsored by the nonpartisan Alliance for Health Reform and the AARP Public Policy Institute.

Preventive services were a priority in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which required that a set of services be available to consumers with no cost sharing. This has improved access for some people to some services. But persistent barriers for consumers are limiting the utilization of preventive services. These barriers include the variability of insurance coverage, the affordability of out-of-pocket costs, the challenges of education and outreach, and the funding of public health initiatives.

Illustrative of the problem is cancer screening, in particular colonoscopies. While improved screening techniques make early cancer detection possible, and public health initiatives aim to educate the public about the importance of cancer screening, this class of diseases continues to claim more than half a million lives each year. The effects of barriers to access are especially apparent among vulnerable populations in which cancer prevalence is greater than the national average.

Can the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) rules and regulations remove cost barriers to Medicare beneficiaries to get colonoscopy screenings in recommended numbers? Is legislation needed to accomplish this? With state insurance regulation accounting for geographic variation in access to prevention services, is there an appropriate federal policy remedy such as promoting price transparency? Are state outreach and education initiatives gaining ground? Is there federal funding support for state and local public health efforts? Does prevention need to "save money" to be worth doing?

A distinguished panel of experts addressed these and related questions.

Judy Monroe, deputy director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and head of the CDC Office of State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support, talked about the value of prevention in population health and current CDC initiatives in prevention related to provisions in the ACA.

Lynda Flowers, senior strategic policy advisor, AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI), one of the authors of a recent PPI paper, highlighted barriers to preventive services.

Kevin Lucia, professor and project director, Georgetown University Center on Health Insurance Reforms, discussed his report on colonoscopy screening after the ACA and his work on private health insurance.

**ADDED SPEAKER ** Julie Eckstein, director, St Charles County Community Health and the Environment, talked about local public health initiatives and the role of federal, state and local funding in outreach and education.

Ed Howard, Executive Vice President of the Alliance, and Susan Reinhard, Senior Vice President for Public Policy at AARP, co-moderated.

Follow the briefing on Twitter: #PreventionBarriers

Contact: Deanna Okrent (202) 789-2300 deannaokrent@allhealth.org

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