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Report Lists Key Policy Questions Facing State, National Health Reform
Date:2/8/2008

Despite Difficulties, States Rise Against the Status Quo to Advance Health Care Reform

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --- A new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's State Coverage Initiatives program, State of the States 2008: Rising to the Challenge, outlines 2007 efforts to expand health insurance coverage and find new tools to address health care reform at the state level. While many states made progress, key contributors to uninsurance remain unchecked and historically difficult policy questions remain unanswered.

According to the report, steady increase in the number of uninsured has been a hallmark of the last decade, precipitated by unprecedented declines in employer-based coverage. In 2007 the trend continued and, like last year, was exacerbated when public program funding remained flat, failing yet again to offset new losses. This one-two punch hits children particularly hard, swelling the ranks of uninsured kids by 700,000 in 2006 and accounting for more than one-quarter of the growth in uninsured.

States considering substantial or comprehensive health care reforms face a number of challenges, but State of the States lists key policy design questions can help shape the debate. They are:

-- What are the goals and priorities of reform?

-- Will different populations require different solutions?

-- Who will pay: Businesses? Government? Individuals?

-- Who will benefit?

-- Should health insurance coverage be required?

-- If so, what constitutes affordable coverage?

-- What is the most appropriate benefit design?

-- How can risk be pooled?

-- Do insurance markets need to be reformed or reorganized?

-- What are the best mechanisms for cost containment and overall systems improvement?

"These are extraordinarily tough questions to answer - and each leads down a different path of policy discussion. But states ha
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SOURCE AcademyHealth
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