The legislative letter states: “The serious problems with health
care in America ”š ever-rising costs, limited access, inconsistent
quality, and waste and inefficiency”š converge in the states. The
effects of these problems stress state budgets, exhaust family
resources, result in lost worker productivity, stifle entrepreneurial
spirit, and literally cause tens of thousands of deaths each year.
Our disjointed health care system has formed a choke-hold on our
economy, limiting job growth and economic development. We cannot fix
the economy without fixing health care.”
Last week, the Connecticut House of Representatives passed two bills that proponents say will make Connecticut "Obama-ready" for national health care reform being debated in Congress. Most notably, each CT bill would create the choice of a public health insurance plan in the state.
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
This week, the Washington State Senate's health committee approved a
bill to achieve health-care-for-all by 2012. Sponsored by committee
Chair Sen. Karen Keiser, SB 5945 as amended
combines immediate steps to expand access to coverage and cut
administrative costs with a planning process to refine proposals for
comprehensive reform by 2012. This action came as the Seattle City Council and Seattle Post-Intelligencerendorsed national single-payer health care, emphasizing the continuing efforts in states to move forward health care reform.
There are stark differences between the two presidential campaigns'
approaches to federal-state relationships. Differences range from the
amount of funding appropriated for programs run by the states to
whether the candidates would strengthen or weaken state regulatory