First Focus

First Focus is a bipartisan advocacy organization that is committed to making children and families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. Children's health, education, early childhood, family economics, child welfare, immigration, and child safety are the core issue areas around which First Focus is working to promote bipartisan policy solutions. First Focus’ health work includes ensuring that all children, especially low-income children, have access to affordable, accessible, and reliable coverage. See below for more information about First Focus’ recent activities, accomplishments, and advocacy work and tools!

ACA Implementation

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  • KidsWell Partners Respond to MACPAC Request on Future of Children’s Health Coverage

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    CCF, CDF, First Focus, NHeLP, CA: 49 groups, including KidsWell Partners Children’s Defense Fund, The Children’s Partnership, First Focus, the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, and the National Health Law Program, responded to a MACPAC request about how to improve Marketplace coverage for children. The letter advocates for the Commission to recognize the foundational role of Medicaid and CHIP and discusses: affordability of coverage; adequacy of covered benefits; network adequacy; and transitions between Medicaid, CHIP, Marketplaces, and employer sponsored insurance.

  • First Focus Issues Statement and Summary on Study Comparing Coverage and Costs of CHIP and QHPs

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    First Focus: First Focus issued a press release and summary of a study conducted by Wakely Consulting group comparing actuarial values of CHIP and qualified health plans (QHPs) in 35 states. The analysis focuses on coverage for children at 160% of the federal poverty level (FPL) and 210% of FPL for CHIP and QHPs, respectively, and includes information on coverage available to children with special needs. The summary notes CHIP enrollees could face up to ten-fold increases in cost sharing if they are transitioned into QHPs.

  • First Focus Applies CHIP Lessons to ACA Implementation in New Issue Brief

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    First Focus:  First Focus published an issue brief on CHIP outreach, enrollment, and renewal practices to inform ACA implementation. The brief highlights lessons learned regarding: reaching hard-to-reach populations, streamlining eligibility, and limiting churn. 
  • First Focus Analyzes Funding for Children’s Health Programs in President’s Budget

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    First Focus: First Focus published an issue brief analyzing the impact of President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget request on children’s health programs. According to the issue brief, the budget: increases funding for CHIP; makes Express Lane Enrollment permanent; extends CHIP state performance bonuses; and includes funding for children’s mental health programs, among other provisions.

  • First Focus Issue Brief Compares CHIP and ACA Implementation

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    First Focus: First Focus issued a brief comparing ACA to CHIP implementation.  The analysis identifies lessons learned from CHIP implementation, highlights the importance of navigating state and federal relationships and reviews state implementation challenges. 

  • KidsWell Grantees Release Issue Brief on Pediatric Network Adequacy

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    KidsWell PartnersFirst Focus, Georgetown Center for Children and Families (CCF), and the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) joined other national organizations to release an issue brief on ensuring adequate provider networks for children.  The brief, written by Children Now’s Michael Odeh, highlights the need for and development of robust pediatric provider networks.
  • First Focus Published Report on Similarities between CHIP and ACA

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    First Focus: First Focus and Eugene Lewit, a Professor at Stanford University, published a report identifying the similarities between the implementation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the ACA roll out. "CHIP’s success demonstrates, it takes time, effort and engagement to make things right, but that builds support for the program and momentum for further progress,” said Lewit. In addition, Bruce Leslie, President of First Focus, published an Op-Ed in Politico about the report.

  • First Focus Responds to Exchange Open Enrollment Kick-Off!!

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    First Focus: First Focus published an article celebrating the “open enrollment season” in which they highlight the various outreach efforts and publicity around the new Marketplace options.
  • National KidsWell Partners and U.S. News & World Report Hosted Live Twitter Chat!

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    First Focus & CCF: First Focus, the Urban Institute, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute, and U.S. News & World Report hosted a live Twitter chat to discuss the benefits children and their families will receive under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Topics discussed included how the ACA will: benefit children; impact children with disabilities; impact the cost of care; and help families shop and select a health plan to fit their needs.
  • Can Exchanges Work for Kids? First Focus, CCF and CDF Explain it All!

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    First Focus, CCF, and CDF: First Focus, The Georgetown Center for Children and Families and The Children’s Defense Fund released a resource to help advocates educate state officials on how Exchanges can benefit children. The resource reviews seven key components that should be considered for State-based Exchanges, State-partnership Exchanges, and the Federally-facilitated Exchange. The key components reviewed included effective consumer assistance, comprehensive child-specific Essential Health Benefits, transparent Exchange planning and operations, and seamless coverage and care through strong coordination with Medicaid and CHIP.
  • The Children's Partnership & National KidsWell Partners Supported CMS Regulations

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    CDF, First Focus, & CA: CDF, First Focus, and The Children's Partnership submitted comments and expressed strong support to CMS on the proposed primary care physicians reimbursement rate regulations.

  • First Focus Released Top Ten Benefits of the ACA

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    First Focus issued a press release, a top ten list of benefits children will receive from the ACA, a letter-to-the-editor template and analysis of the ACA’s critical provisions in celebration of the Supreme Court’s ruling. Most notably the ruling: (1) maintains the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); (2) keeps Medicaid and CHIP coverage strong for children who are currently enrolled; and (3) affirms consumer protections that ensure that children with long-term or serious illnesses can receive coverage.
  • First Focus Hosted Calls to Discuss ACA Ruling

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    On the day of the ruling, First Focus hosted (1) a 10:45am EST organizing call highlighting messaging and communication with national and state groups; (2) an 11 am EST story-banking event in front of the Supreme Court highlighting individuals who have benefited from the ACA; (3) a 12 pm EST press call held by national groups and open to political, health, and court reporters; and (4) within 24 hours of the decision First Focus held a call with its national and state partners.
  • First Focus Released Materials in Response to ACA Ruling

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    First Focus drafted various materials for advocates in response to the Supreme Court's ruling on the ACA. Materials include: (1) draft press statements; (2) letter-to-the-editor templates; (3) key talking points to encourage child-focused messaging; (4) the March 2010 fact sheet highlighting how children will benefit from the ACA; and (5) the Kid’s Policy Express blog that is available to advocates and individuals who wish to post materials and posts related to the ACA.   
  • First Focus Issued Press Release Highlighting IRS Announcement on Future ACA Rulemaking

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    First Focus issued a press release highlighting the U.S. Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) announcement that future Affordable Care Act (ACA) rulemaking will address concerns raised by children and family advocates regarding the affordability of employer-sponsored coverage for children and spouses. The First Focus Campaign for Children was among the advocates who submitted a comments letter to the IRS signed by over 100 national and state advocates in response to its proposed rule on affordability. The proposed provision would determine whether an employer-sponsored health plan is affordable for an entire family based on the costs of coverage for the individual employee only, disregarding any additional costs of family coverage.
  • First Focus Highlighted 2013 Budget and Proposed Budget Cuts

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    First Focus issued an update on the Federal fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget that highlighted the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s planned sessions to discuss the recently proposed budget cuts. According to a Committee memo, the new cuts include a number of health related provisions under the ACA including: (1) repealing the prevention and public health fund; (2) repealing the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary’s authority to issue unlimited state Exchange funds that would help facilitate the purchase of Qualified Health Plans (QHP); (3) defunding the CO-OP program which provides government-subsidized loans to non-profit health insurance plans; (4) rebasing the Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) allotments; (5) repealing the Medicaid Maintenance of Effort (MOE) state requirement; (6) repealing the increased Federal Medicaid funding cap and match rate for territories; (7) adjusting the proposed provider tax threshold that helps states finance Medicaid expenditures from 3.5% to 5.5%; and (8) reforming the Medical Liability system.    
  • First Focus Released Customizable Materials to Support the ACA

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     First Focus released a number of customizable materials for organizations and states to use to support and defend the ACA; held a series of social media posts on Facebook and Twitter titled “Top 10 ACA Wins for Kids”; co-hosted a Twitter chat in collaboration with MomsRising, using the hash tag #InvestInKids featuring Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison and Dr. George Askew, Senior Health Policy Advisor at the Administration for Children and Families at HHS; submitted op-eds to various newspapers; and published a research brief with the Urban Institute and fact sheet highlighting the increased federal investments in children's health and coverage resulting from the ACA.
  • First Focus Assisted with Events for ACA Second Anniversary Week

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    In preparation for the ACA’s anniversary, First Focus and Know Your Care assisted a number of groups in organizing events by offering to help draft editorials and letters to the editor (LTEs), assist with media events and arrange for a U.S. Health and Human Services’ (HHS) surrogate to present at events.

  • First Focus Assisted with Events for ACA Anniversary Week

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    First Focus and Know Your Care are assisting a number of groups organize events for the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) second anniversary week (March 19th-23rd) by offering to help draft editorials and letters to the editor (LTEs), assist with press events and arrange for a U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) surrogate to present at events. The designated days for the anniversary week are: (1) Monday – Seniors Day; (2) Tuesday – Women’s Day (free preventative care and better benefits for women); (3) Wednesday – Young Adults/Children’s Day; (4) Thursday – Medical Loss Ratio, Rate Review, and Small Business Tax Credit day; and (5) Friday – a day for pre-existing coverage and high-risk pools. HHS surrogate scheduling can be arranged by emailing celebrateACA@gmail.com. First Focus is tracking events via Google; to include your event in the Google forum please visit the ACA anniversary event tracking website at bit.ly/celebrateACA or email the spreadsheet to celebrateACA@gmail.com.
  • First Focus Developed Messaging Document to Assist with Advocacy Efforts

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    First Focus developed a proactive messaging document for state advocates to leverage as they discuss both the work they have done and the benefits of the ACA for children. Among several talking points, the resource speaks to “wins under health reform” for children and the benefits of Health Insurance Exchanges as ways to ensure more children gain coverage.

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