A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Patience Helps in Comprehensive Health Reform Efforts

Patience Helps in Comprehensive Health Reform Efforts

December 27, 2007

NYTimes -- click here -- surveys the slow pace of comprehensive health reform efforts across the nation, with special focus on California, Illinois, and Pennsylvania:

Though the governors of three big states — California, Illinois and Pennsylvania — proposed sweeping plans to restructure health care this year, none will finish 2007 with bills passed and signed. In each state, the initiatives confronted entrenched opposition from insurance and other business lobbies that made it far more difficult to build a consensus for change than in the smaller New England states that acted in recent years.

Yet it also was a year of intriguing achievement, here above all, where the Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the Democratic Assembly speaker, Fabian Núñez, drew up a bipartisan blueprint for bringing near-universal coverage to the country’s most populous state.

Lots a reasons offered for the lack of success. One not mentioned seems important to us.

Time.

It takes time to create the policy framework and political agreement to pass health reform plans that have huge effects on a variety of constituencies and stakeholders. MA has done three major health reform laws since 1988, and each one took about three years to accomplish. CA, PA and IL all started their recent engagements in 2007. A little patience can be a good thing.