Block Rightwing Strategies to Undermine Health Reform

Anticipating Federal Reform, States Move on Reining in Insurance Abuses and Implementation

Highlighting the outrage at insurance industry abuses pushing Congress towards a final decision on federal health care reform, state legislators continue to advance their own insurance reforms, even as they lay the groundwork for implementing the policies that will emerge in a federal bill. 

Targeting Insurance Abuses as a Path to Federal Health Reform

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.

Hypocrisy of "State Rights" Conservatives on Health Care

Both national conservative leaders and a number of state legislators have attacked the current federal health bills as infringing on "state sovereignty."  Yet they oddly ignore the fact that two of the main planks in conservative health proposals proposed by Congressional leaders -- allowing insurance companies to sell across state lines and overriding state medical malpractice laws through "tort reform" -- are far clearer attacks on state authority.  

While DC Delays, States Move Forward on Health Care Reforms

As Congress delays moving forward on the passage of comprehensive health care reform, progressive state leaders from across the country have been demanding passage of reform as critical for families across the nation.  But that doesn't mean they are waiting; state leaders are moving forward, laying the groundwork for how national changes should be implemented, and creating the momentum for other meaningful health care reforms in their states.

Conservatives Introduce Anti-Health Reform Bills in the States

Under the guise of "choice" in health care, conservatives are launching a state-based campaign to derail health reform.  With support from the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), conservative legislators in at least 24 states are introducing a bill that says no one shall be required to purchase health care from the government or a government-defined health plan or be prevented from buying private insurance, and that residents shall have the right to pay for health care directly out of pocket.

Health Insurer Sues Maine for Guaranteed Profits

A story from Maine offers up another reason why we need the choice of a public health insurance option, and it's a doozy.  Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maine, a subsidiary of the insurance giant Wellpoint, is suing the State of Maine because the insurance commissioner refused to approve its request for a rate increase of 18.5% for its individual products, which included a guaranteed 3% profit. Commissioner Mila Koffman found Anthem's request "excessive" and approved a 10.9% average increase in premiums.