As Congress delays moving forward on the passage of comprehensive
health care reform, progressive state leaders from across the country
have been demanding passage of reform
as critical for families across the nation. But that doesn't mean they
are waiting; state leaders are moving forward, laying the groundwork
for how national changes should be implemented, and creating the
momentum for other meaningful health care reforms in their states.
Young adults between the ages of 19 and 29 represent one of the largest and fastest-growing segments ofthe U.S. population without health care coverage. In an effort toensure that all Americans are insured a growing number of states have enacted legislation to allow children to stay on their parents' health insurance plans well into adulthood.
Last week, the Connecticut House of Representatives passed two bills that proponents say will make Connecticut "Obama-ready" for national health care reform being debated in Congress. Most notably, each CT bill would create the choice of a public health insurance plan in the state.
While the current debate in DC has focused on the choice of public health insurance plan, this Dispatch
will outline how state legislators and health care advocates have
already been advancing the priority of a public plan - helping to build
grassroots support for creating the choice of a public health insurance
plan as part of comprehensive health care reform. Notable state
campaigns to extend public plans to more families include Healthy
Wisconsin, a guaranteed health care program for all state residents,
providing state employee-level benefits and ensuring consumers' choice
of providers, which passed the State Senate in 2007, and the
Connecticut Healthcare Partnership, allowing small businesses and
municipalities to buy coverage through the state employee health plan,
which passed the legislature in 2008 but was vetoed by the Governor.
This year, these initiatives have been reinvigorated by legislators
and joined by other proposals that hinge on creating a public plan,
like SustiNet, a comprehensive reform measure which creates a true
public health insurance option in Connecticut, the nation's insurance
Prior to last Monday's White House health care forum in Des Moines, Iowa, one of fiveregional forums being held across the country, the Iowa Senate passed two significant
health care reform measures - one symbolic and one substantive.