Washington state residents, policymakers, educators, and medical and public health workers will soon know much more about how the Affordable Care Act has affected them, thanks to a new initiative called UW-SHARE from the UW School of Public Health.
UW-SHARE’s first step is to capture the current, one-time pre-implementation moment using a mail survey of 40,000 households. The households, with at least one person between ages 18 and 64 years, were chosen randomly from the publicly available list of registered voters in Washington state. (Residents in some of the smaller counties are being oversampled in order to obtain county-level estimates).
The overall purpose is to obtain a benchmark, pre-ACA picture of health-care use, health, health-related attitudes, and access to health insurance. According to Anirban Basu, an associate professor in the Department of Health Services, which is leading the UW-SHARE effort, the primary goals are to understand:
- How the ACA will affect access to health insurance;
- Health care use and the burden of illness before and after the ACA;
- Challenges in accessing needed care before and after the ACA;
- How much of the enrollment in health care exchanges is driven by medical needs vs. political ideology.
“The results of this and another survey next year will inform the state and federal governments about what they might do in the future to help residents meet health care challenges, such as how to make the exchanges more efficient and identify counties with unmet needs,” said Basu. Depending on funding, the School would like to do this survey annually, he added.
The four-page survey, which should take 10 to 15 minutes to complete, is being mailed this week. Participation is voluntary, but returned surveys will be eligible to win an iPad or Surface tablet.
The results should be available in the spring and will be published on the website: http://depts.washington.edu/phenom/UW-SHARE