Heather Howard, lecturer in public affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School and director of the State Health Reform Assistance Network (State Network), has been invited to testify before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health on September 12, 2012, as part of the Congressional subcommittee's examination of health insurance exchanges authorized in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The ACA is an unprecedented joint federal-state initiative, with provisions designed to expand health insurance coverage, control costs, and improve the health care delivery system in the United States. With the Supreme Court case resolved, some states are now rapidly moving forward in developing health insurance exchanges and deciding whether to expand Medicaid, in light of the new flexibility allowed by the Supreme Court, before the January 1, 2014, deadline outlined in the federal law.
The State Network, which Howard directs, is focused on setting up insurance exchanges, instituting insurance market reforms, expanding Medicaid to newly eligible populations, and streamlining eligibility and enrollment systems. Funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, it is providing states with essential resources to implement key health insurance coverage provisions of the ACA.
Prior to coming to the Wilson School, Howard served as the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services for the state of New Jersey, where she was responsible for oversight of public health services, regulation of health care institutions, hospital financing, senior services, and health care policy and research. Her prior public policy experience includes work in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, for the Domestic Policy Council at the White House, and for the Health Care Task Force within the Antitrust Division at the U.S. Justice Department.Howard received her B.A. from Duke University and J.D. from New York University School of Law.
Other witnesses at the hearing will include: The Honorable Michael Consedine, Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner, Department of Insurance; E. Neil Trautwein, Vice President, Employee Benefits Policy Counsel, National Retail Federation; Daniel T. Durham, Executive Vice President, Policy and Regulatory Affairs, America’s Health Insurance Plans; and James F. Blumstein, University Professor of Constitutional Law and Health Law & Policy, Vanderbilt Law School.