NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 29, 2007

States should be freed and encouraged to reform their health care systems -- and potentially serve as a model for the federal government.  The bipartisan Health Partnership Act, introduced earlier this month in the Senate with a House counterpart, would do just that, says the Baltimore Examiner.

The best approaches will use the market as a guide and the Partnership Act will encourage states to try a number of different approaches.  If passed, states, groups of states or parts of states could apply for funds from Congress:

  • Applications could include plans to create a single-payer system in which state government negotiates fees for services and drug prices; or plans to expand tax credits; expand Medicaid; create health savings accounts; or build an exchange program similar to the one operating in Massachusetts.
  • That law severs insurance from employers so that workers own health insurance in the same way they own home and auto insurance; this spreads risk throughout the entire state.
  • States that receive grants would be required to report to Congress on their progress meeting set targets.
  • After five years, the commission overseeing the grants would report to Congress on which programs best achieved their goals and which offer the best model for federal reform.

With the uninsured numbering about 45 million nationally -- 800,000 in Maryland -- the Health Partnership Act and its House version could not have come at a better time.

Some states or groups may make big mistakes.  But there will be no mistaking those who perform best at the end of five years, says the Examiner.  Besides, why should Congress risk passing major health care reform now when it has no idea what works?

Source: Editorial, "States best decide health care reform," Baltimore Examiner, January 29, 2007.


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