How the Affordable Care Act can help move States toward a high-performing system of long-term services and supports

Health Aff (Millwood). 2011 Mar;30(3):447-53. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2011.0099.


The United States may advance toward a high-performing health care system that offers long-term services and supports for people with disabilities and chronic conditions, or it may retreat from gains achieved in recent years. Since the 1980s, policy makers and advocates for the disabled have sought to move from a system that emphasizes nursing homes and institutional care to one that includes a broader range of care options. The Affordable Care Act of 2010 gives this movement a considerable boost by offering states timely new options and enhanced federal funding to create a care system that meets the diverse needs and preferences of people with disabilities and that also recognizes the role of family caregivers. In this paper we outline the five key characteristics of a high-performing system of long-term services and supports. We describe an emerging "scorecard" that could help measure states' progress toward this goal. And we itemize aspects of the Affordable Care Act intended to support the creation of such a high-performing system for the disabled and those with chronic conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Benchmarking
  • Disabled Persons
  • Efficiency, Organizational*
  • Long-Term Care* / methods
  • Long-Term Care* / standards
  • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act*
  • Social Support*
  • United States