Governors Advance Health Access Plans
It’s not just Massachusetts and California that are looking at health reform. Here are a set of anecdotes regarding gubernatorial health reform agendas – all taken from today’s Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:
Minnesota: Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) proposed expanding access to state health insurance programs and allowing residents to use pretax dollars to pay for premiums. Pawlenty's proposal would extend access to MinnesotaCare to 23,000 more residents, mainly children; add a new component to MinnesotaCare called MinnesotaCare Modern or MinnesotaCare II that would offer low premiums with high deductibles or copayments; require employers with more than 10 employees to allow workers to pay for health care premiums with pretax dollars.
Arizona: Gov. Janet Napolitano (D) proposed expanding the state KidsCare program to provide coverage for all kids younger than 19 in families with annual incomes less than $60,000. Napolitano said that because about 100,000 children who are eligible for AHCCCS or KidsCare are not enrolled, the state should allow teachers to talk to parents about their child's insurance status.
Kansas: Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) will develop a plan to provide universal health care, improve quality and increase health care affordability. She said her administration will reduce overhead administrative costs that are "eating up a third of every health care dollar," and promote use of health care technology to reduce costs.
New Hampshire: Gov. John Lynch (D) said the state "must act to expand [the] children's health insurance program this year" (Lynch speech text, 1/4).
New York: Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) said that it "will take a fundamental restructuring of our health care system to make health care affordable again and to free up the resources for other urgent priorities." Spitzer will introduce a budget that guarantees access to health insurance for the state's 500,000 uninsured children. He added that the state will work to enroll the 900,000 eligible adults in Medicaid using an enrollment process that protects against fraud.
Vermont: Gov. James Douglas (R) said the state must fully implement the Catamount Health insurance program to expand coverage to uninsured residents and offer affordable premiums "to those who otherwise couldn't purchase their own insurance." Douglas said that implementation of the program "will require flexibility and a continued commitment to [Vermont's] common goals".
West Virginia: Gov. Joe Manchin (D) proposed a "Preventive Care Clinic-Based" pilot project under which residents would visit approved primary care clinics and private physicians' offices to receive basic testing and reduced prices on prescription medications. He also proposed an initiative to provide affordable insurance plans "for individuals who want, and can afford, more in-depth coverage." According to Manchin, the plans would be offered by commercial insurance carriers with monthly premiums as low as $99.