The 2010 General Assembly adjourned March 14th, one day later than
scheduled, and was dominated by a single overriding issue:
unprecedented cuts to state spending and core services once thought to
Progressive States Network has a new
analysis of the progress of state health care legislation which
indicates the failure of conservative attempts to obstruct reform at the
state level. This resource, located at http://ALECFail.com,
will be updated as more sessions end. Many more nullification bills
are expected to fail this session, as state leaders and legislators
across the country defeat the right-wing agenda attacking health care
In spite of New Mexico’s brief one month session that focused
mainly on budget issues, a number of progressive reforms were passed. The legislature enacted new health insurance regulations to prevent
wasteful administrative costs by insurance companies and discrimination
based on gender. In addition the state expanded "medical homes" to
improve care and established a Health Care Reform Working Group to
implement federal reforms.
Grappling with its own large budget deficit, the Utah State legislature
found time to move a number of initiatives, both positive and negative.
Public education and higher education both suffered significant cuts,
although not as bad as the worst proposals, with a tobacco tax the major
revenue approved to close budget gaps.
Highlighting the outrage at insurance industry abuses pushing Congress
towards a final decision on federal health care reform, state
legislators continue to advance their own insurance reforms, even as
they lay the groundwork for implementing the policies that will emerge
in a federal bill.
This week, President Obama released his blueprint for comprehensive health care legislation. The plan 's release means Obama can outline the specifics of what he wants to see in a final bill for the first time. Many political observers see the decision to outline specifics as not only a jump start to move health care reform across the finish line but also as a stamp of approval for the Senate to use a majority vote through the reconciliation process, a strategy which appears to be gaining momentum.
This Dispatch will: highlight a few of the state insurance reform campaigns underway and the health insurance problems they highlight; detail how to message these campaigns to support federal reform; provide a roundup of policy options and model bills for other states interested in moving similar insurance reforms; and end with a set of resources on the campaign, including national policy organizations, key reports, and bills moving across the country.
As the U.S. Congress enters its final push to enact health care reform legislation, state legislators working with Progressive States Network have been raising their voices to make sure key state concerns are addressed in final negotiations.