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State Health Reforms Progress Despite Ailing Economy
Date:2/4/2009

Report Finds Trend Among States Tackling Costs, Quality and Access in Reform Efforts

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- While election year politics and the decline in the economy have slowed the rate of health reforms enacted in states last year, a new report shows many states nevertheless made progress in 2008. Many states laid significant groundwork for reform in the last few years, but the report suggests that the potential for federal reform and shortfalls in state budgets - fueled by an economy in recession - are likely to dampen state reform efforts in 2009. As federal policymakers turn their attention to national health reform, the report underscores the important practical and political lessons federal lawmakers can learn from states' experiences.

State Coverage Initiatives' (SCI) "State of the States" 2009 report, Charting the Course: Preparing for the Future, Learning from the Past, notes that state legislators will keep close watch on the possibility of federal health reform this year, first to see if states get needed cash to help replenish evaporating state Medicaid funds, and then to see how more sweeping health reform plans may affect their states. The report was prepared by experts at SCI, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation administered by AcademyHealth.

"Despite a flurry of ambitious efforts and some significant state-based health reforms in recent years, we are at a potentially perilous point in many states," said Enrique Martinez-Vidal, director of State Coverage Initiatives. "As unemployment climbs, more people lose their employer-sponsored health insurance and become eligible for state Medicaid programs. That puts even more pressure on already burdened state budgets. It's safe to say that all eyes will be on Washington as states look for remedies for our troubled health system."

SCI tracked progress in several states in 20
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SOURCE Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
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