Health Care Reform
State-level health care reform efforts in Massachusetts and Vermont in 2006 have prompted most states to expand health care coverage, improve quality of care and reduce costs, marking the largest trend in statewide overhaul initiatives in more than a decade, according to a study in Health Affairs.
Researchers found that the most common reforms involved expansion of children's coverage, followed by coverage for uninsured adults. The authors attribute the increase in state-level reform efforts to:
- The rising number of uninsured;
- A positive economic period for state governments;
- Recent changes in political leadership that have brought more momentum to health care reform; and
- Leadership of Massachusetts and Vermont in demonstrating new policy initiatives that have encouraged other states to seek similar reforms.
The study notes, however, that although state-level health care reform efforts have indicated a renewed interest in expanding health insurance coverage, they have not necessarily reduced the number of uninsured residents. Researchers conclude that the future of state-level reform is uncertain, particularly considering the financial challenges states could face if the federal government does not provide assistance (McDonough et al., Health Affairs, 1/29). 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.