Since I fill up so much of this blog with news about how the states are resisting health reform, I thought it would be a good idea to point out that some states are in fact doing their very best to comply with the requirements in the new law. Thirty states have already indicated that they would be managing the temporary high-risk insurance pool program until the exchanges become operation in 2014 and others have announced that they will go further to prepare for implementation:
- California: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced that he supports reform and will direct his administration “to begin putting the new system in place in California immediately.” The governor said he would call a special session of the Legislature, if necessary, to quickly get in place various legislative changes needed for the implementation of the federal healthcare plan.”
- Illinois: This week, the Illinois legislature “passed the Health Care Justice Implementation Act (SB3047) with bi-partisan support.” The bill will “monitor the implementation of the federal health care reforms and make recommendations per state implementation.
- Colorado: Gov. Bill Ritter “signed four bills intended to enhance the state’s role in health reform. He also issued an executive order naming a director of implementation and creating a new interagency reform task force.”
- Washington: Washington has already put in place many of the elements of the new federal health-care law, putting it closer than most states to making the federal law work for its residents. For instance, the state has high risk pools, basic health care plans and “state lawmakers already have authorized pilots for the coordinated approaches touted in federal law, including accountable care organizations.”
- Montana: “State Auditor Monica Lindeen said her office will have a new high-risk insurance pool running this summer” which will charge rates that are “equal to the cost of health insurance in the normal market.” The state is also excited about implementing the new exchanges. “We may be one of the first states in the nation to figure out exactly what our exchange looks like,” Lindeen said. “The rest of the nation will be looking at us.” “All of the market reforms really make sense,” she said.
- Minnesota: On Tuesday, the Minnesota House passed a health care bill that expands the Medicaid program and “lays the groundwork for federal health care changes.” Unfortunately, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) has threatened to veto the measure.
As I’ve argued before, the success of health care reform will largely depend on the states. Each state is tasked with creating and administering the new health care exchanges and enforcing the new insurance regulations. The more states do now to prepare for reform, the smoother the implantation process and the greater the chance that public opinion will shift in its favor.