NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Health Care Was Top Legislative Priority For States In 1999

January 24, 2000

Health care issues made up a greater proportion of bills in state legislatures last year than any other topic, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

  • About 27,000 bills out of approximately 140,000 concerned health-care issues.
  • About 1,400 of those bills became law last year.
  • Although fewer legislatures are in session this year -- 44 as opposed to 49 -- already 16,000 health-care proposals have been carried over or been introduced this year.
  • A number of state lawmakers say they cannot wait for Congress to act on health care issues and that states can act as a laboratory to see what works and what doesn't -- thereby eventually giving Congress some guidance as to what might constitute effective national policies.

Observers say that the states do enjoy certain advantages in grappling with the issues. They are not as hampered by the powerful lobbies that swarm in Washington and they tend to work in a more bipartisan fashion than Congress.

Source: Carey Goldberg, "For Many States, Health Care Bills Are Top Priority," New York Times, January 23, 2000.


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