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LBJ Student Research Examines Effect of Affordable Care Act on Women and Children

Friday, April 8, 2011

On Friday April 8, 2011, students from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin presented their research and analysis of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2010) during the 18th Annual Emerging Scholarship in Women’s Studies Conference.  The students examined the affect of this legislation on women and children across the country.   

LBJ School conference participants (L to R) Jessica Taylor, Nivi Matsyaraja, Olivia Travieso, Courtney Weaver, Jamie Severson, Kristen Boyd, Dr. Jacqueline Angel, and Kymbat NurgaliyevaThe Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the law that attempts to make health care universal in the United States.  As preparations are made for implementation of this law, students from the LBJ School Women in the Changing World of Work seminar class, found it important to discuss the implications for women and children and create recommendations to strengthen the impact of the existing bill.

LBJ School Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs Dr. Jacqueline Angel, who teaches Women in the Changing World of Work, oversaw this research and panel presentation.  According to Angel, “These insightful and thoughtful essays identify some of most serious dilemmas related to the ways in which the ACA will affect women. It is gratifying to see graduate students addressing the most central issues of the day.”

Angel adds, “The topical-focused seminar provided a unique format for research and analysis of the ACA as it relates to the women’s lives. Students had the opportunity to engage in an informed policy discussion of the many aspects of the landmark legislation and particularly the costs and benefits for women in the labor force, for their employers, and for society at large.”

The students presented their papers at the University of Texas Union to an audience of over 40 people from multiple disciplines and programs ranging from Women’s and Gender Studies to Education and Nursing.  According to Olivia Travieso, a second year Master of Public Affairs student who served as Presider over the panel, “the fact that so many students and faculty from across the university were willing to spend their Friday afternoon discussing this issue signals how much the ACA legislation is affecting all of us.”  She adds, “It was great to have such an opportunity to spark this discussion in an interdisciplinary venue and hear the opinions and perspectives of students outside of our regular discourse at the LBJ School.” 

The other University of Texas panelists included Jamie Severson, Master of Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies student, Kristen Boyd, Master of Science in Social Work student, Courtney Weaver, dual Master of Public Affairs and Social Work student, and Meg Chamberlain, dual Master of Public Affairs and Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies student.  Susan Mills, a PhD Candidate at the UT School of Nursing, and Lucy Panoyan, a third year medical student at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, were also invited to be members of the panel.  The moderator was Nivi Matsyaraja, a PhD Candidate at the School of Education.

The presentation sparked lively discussion among the audience members.  Student Rapporteurs Kymbat Nurgaliyeva, a Master of Public Affairs student, and Jessica Taylor, a PhD Candidate at the School of Nursing, noted that the audience members “posed a lot of important questions and raised many crucial issues regarding the implementation of the law and difficulties associated with it, particularly emphasizing an increased financial responsibility for government and the changing roles of insurers and employers, an increase in healthcare costs for women, as well as significance of focusing on filling the gaps in providing for preventive healthcare services for women.” 

Angela Evans, LBJ School Professor and former Deputy Director of the Congressional Research Service, was also in the audience for this discussion.  Evans remarked, “The interdisciplinary panel of students, who presented at the conference, should be commended for their insights into the ACA and its implications for women’s health.  Through their presentations, and the subsequent exchanges with audience members, they conveyed the salient policy issues contained in the ACA legislation as well as the challenges ahead as these policies are implemented, evaluated and potentially adjusted."

In addition to the LBJ School of Public Affairs, the panel and reception that followed was also sponsored by the Center for Health and Social Policy (CHASP).  Full versions of the student’s analytic papers on the ACA will be available to read on the CHASP website in May 2011.  Also available online will be a recently published paper by Jennifer Karas-Montez and Dr. Angel and a research study co-authored by Kate Chambers Prickett and Dr, Angel, both regarding the effect of the new health care law on women’s health. 

For more information on the Women in the Changing World of Work seminar or the panel presentations on the Affordable Care Act, please contact Dr. Jacqueline Angel at or visit the CHASP website,

BY Olivia Travieso

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