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In the States

IN THE STATES: Florida Moves Ahead on "Bare-Bones" Policy

May 22, 2008

Earlier in May we updated you on the passage of Florida's "bare bones" health policies that Republican Gov. Charlie Crist hopes will make a dent in the state's high uninsurance rate (almost one in five under age 65). Today the New York Times updates what's going on in Florida, along with a useful summary of some other state action—and inaction.

IN THE STATES: Minnesota Gov. Vetoes Health Coverage Expansion Bill

May 14, 2008

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has vetoed a health care bill, saying it would expand coverage without doing anything to restrain costs or improve quality, the Star-Tribune reports.The bill had passed the state Senate with a veto-proof margin, but the vote was closer in the House.

IN THE STATES: Creating Incentives for Primary Care Physicians in Massachusetts

May 14, 2008

Since 2006 more than 340,00 previously uninsured residents of Massachusetts have gained health insurance. As The New York Times recently noted, the expansion in coverage stretched the state's health care resources, especially in primary care.

IN THE STATES: Health Reform Wrap-Up

May 8, 2008

Lots of health reform activity recently in states. Here's some help in catching up:


IN THE STATES: Californians are Still Dreaming

April 28, 2008

Apparently, a lot of Californians shared our disappointment when the state's health reform efforts fell apart earlier this year. A new Field Health Policy Survey shows that Californians are none too confident about the future of health care in their state after lawmakers killed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to cover all Californians in January.

IN THE STATES: Unintended Consequences in (the Other) Washington

April 18, 2008

A new policy magazine and online site called Miller-McCune took a look at the debate about individual mandates. The article argued that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton aren't really that far apart on health policy (one reason, perhaps, that they haven't been arguing about it as much recently).

COVERAGE: The Big Picture in the Bay State

April 8, 2008

"Who said it would be easy?" That headline on the Boston Globe's editorial about the Massachusetts health care for all initiative is as wise as it is simple. We often mutter something similar ourselves when we look ahead to the enormous task of fixing the whole country's health care: "If it were easy, we'd have done it already."

IN THE STATES: Alabama City to Cover All Children

April 4, 2008

Birmingham, Alabama, has announced an ambitious program to cover the city's 5,000 uninsured children through a mix of public-private partnerships blending public funding, philanthropy and an arrangement with a local children's hospital planning a major job-creating and revenue-producing expansion.

IN THE STATES: National Governors Association Workshop on Benefit Packages in Health Reform

March 28, 2008

What should be included in a health care benefit package? Balancing access to comprehensive benefits with cost is tricky business, and this dilemma is increasingly evident as many states try to cover more residents with limited access to financing.

We took this issue on the road yesterday and participated in an important discussion with state policymakers at the National Governors Association's "Defining Benefit Packages in Health Reform" meeting in Philadelphia.

There were at least three main points we took away from this conversation:

  1. Financing health care must be a shared responsibility between the federal government, state government, individuals and sometimes employers, if it is to be affordable;
  2. Determining the minimum set of required benefits is a value-based, community discussion that lends itself to regional differences;
  3. Providing access to and incentives for preventative care is the most important goal of many state reforms.

IN THE STATES: Pennsylvania Governor Backs Coverage Plan

March 19, 2008

Brief update - As expected, the Pennsylvania House did approve a scaled-back version of Gov. Ed Rendell's health coverage plan this week. Rendell has now embraced the compromise and strongly urged the state Senate—which has been more skeptical about the finances—to pass it. As coverage expansion needs to go hand in hand with insurance market reform, particularly to help small businesses and individuals purchase policies, Rendell is also pushing for an insurance package in the House. AP has the details.

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