As Congress debates the last steps needed to pass historic
comprehensive health care reform, state legislators continue to press
forward their efforts to enact state reforms as well as lay the
groundwork for implementing reforms in a federal bill. Here is a
summary of some of the most recent developments taking place across the
This Dispatch will: highlight a few of the state insurance reform campaigns underway and the health insurance problems they highlight; detail how to message these campaigns to support federal reform; provide a roundup of policy options and model bills for other states interested in moving similar insurance reforms; and end with a set of resources on the campaign, including national policy organizations, key reports, and bills moving across the country.
With final negotiations moving forward on Capitol Hill on a final
health care reform bill, over two dozen state legislators met with the
White House and Capitol Hill leaders to share views of how to build a
strong state-federal partnership to provide quality, affordable health
care for all Americans.
This Dispatch will examine how federal reform will likely impact
states, analyzing specific provisions and whether they are beneficial
or detrimental to states' ability to partner with the federal
government in pursuit of quality, affordable health care for all.
While the current debate in DC has focused on the choice of public health insurance plan, this Dispatch
will outline how state legislators and health care advocates have
already been advancing the priority of a public plan - helping to build
grassroots support for creating the choice of a public health insurance
plan as part of comprehensive health care reform. Notable state
campaigns to extend public plans to more families include Healthy
Wisconsin, a guaranteed health care program for all state residents,
providing state employee-level benefits and ensuring consumers' choice
of providers, which passed the State Senate in 2007, and the
Connecticut Healthcare Partnership, allowing small businesses and
municipalities to buy coverage through the state employee health plan,
which passed the legislature in 2008 but was vetoed by the Governor.
This year, these initiatives have been reinvigorated by legislators
and joined by other proposals that hinge on creating a public plan,
like SustiNet, a comprehensive reform measure which creates a true
public health insurance option in Connecticut, the nation's insurance