The Affordable Care Act’s Federal Advisory Committees

Note from the Digital Editor: In order to highlight the high-level of research and scholarship from the authors who have published in the William & Mary Policy Review’s peer-reviewed print journal, we have reproduced the abstracts from Volume 8, Issue 1 along with a link to an electronic copy of the full form of the piece. 

Federal Advisory Committees (FACs)—sometimes referred to as advisory boards, commissions, task forces, or blue ribbon panels—provide policymakers with ad hoc expert advice on complex topics. Thousands of volunteer committee members, many of whom are researchers or academics, donate time to serving on FACs. Using publicly available data from the General Services Administration, we describe the eighteen FACs authorized by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Six years after passage of the ACA, only eight of the eighteen FACs were created. Among those created, 50 to 100 percent of their recommendations were reportedly fully implemented by policymakers. FAC recommendations appear to have predominantly influenced agency operational decisions, rather than statutes or regulations. Our results suggest that the FACs created by the ACA influenced policymaking, and that serving on FACs may be an effective way for health care experts to shape health policy.

Find the full version of this article in PDF form here.

Dr. Megan Colleen McHugh is an Assistant Professor at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine. Her research and teaching focus on federal health policy.