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Improve Quality and Cut Health Care Costs

Health Care for All: Policy Options for 2009

Download a copy of the report in PDF format here.  View the HTML version of the report here.

While US Olympians Excel, US Health Care Under-performs

US athletes are now showing their mettle, competing against the world in the Beijing Summer Olympics.  Since the modern summer Olympics began in 1896, the US has been a force; consistently fielding a dominant cadre of athletes and ranking first, or among the top, in the overall medal count. In the spirit of competition and international comparison, this Stateside Dispatch will look at how well our health care system stacks up against our peers in the international community.

OVERVIEW

We spend substantially more per person than any other country on health care, yet the World Health Organization ranked our health care system 37th in the world in 2000.  We spend more, but we get less.  In fact, the US ranked 42nd in life expectancy in 2007.  Clearly, improving the quality of care, reducing public health hazards, and eliminating disparities in health care access will not only improve health and our standard of living, it will reduce health care costs and wasteful spending. This section offers numerous options state lawmakers have to achieve these fundamental necessities.

A chance to level the playing field

Everyone knows that individuals and small employers face crushing health insurance costs when they try to buy coverage on their own. But state legislators in Hartford are about to take a simple yet far-reaching step to address the problem.

By allowing municipalities and small businesses to buy into the group plan currently provided to state employees, the recently introduced Connecticut Healthcare Partnership would give working families the clout they need to negotiate a better deal for health insurance.

A Consumer Guide to State Health Reform

Some health care reformers may recall that in 1994 the makers of Sim-City produced a Sim-Health computer program.  The program, labeled by some as the "dryest" simulation game ever made, allowed users to take control of the US health care system and observe the results of their decisions.   Now, taking a similar yet more user-friendly approach, Community Catalyst and Families USA have teamed up to provide health care advocates with a web-based guide for developing state expansions of health coverage.