Former Senate Leaders, Governor Start Reform Initiative at State Level
On Tuesday, former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D)Â announced a new project through the Bipartisan Policy Center that aims to help implement various health reform initiatives at the state level, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 1/17).
Daschle said, "We realize that the bulk of the work has to be done at the state level," adding, "We want to work in a constructive way to ensure all the tremendous challenges, including the creation of the exchanges and the availability of the new insurance possibilities for millions of Americans, can be addressed in a way that will assist the states and will advance our efforts at providing good health care for all Americans."
He noted, "The only way (health reform) will work is if it's bipartisan or even nonpartisan." He continued that he and other project leaders have "been encouraged by the level of participation by almost every state," despite efforts to resist certain provisions in the law.
Sheila Burke -- co-director of the health project at the Bipartisan Policy Center and faculty member of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University -- said officials will start conversations about popular reform provisions and avoid the most divisive portions of the law.
Burke said, "Our view is to try to begin where the conversations can in fact take place," adding, "We're not going to take on the individual mandate, to be perfectly honest." She noted that an area of agreement among most states is the need to develop state health insurance exchanges where consumers can shop for plans (Haberkorn, Politico, 1/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.