States getting feet wet with new proposals

February 1, 2007

Everyone is jumping into the pool-the state-purchasing pool that is. States are beginning to dive into healthcare overhaul with almost artistic creativity, coming up with state-specific, collectively funded plans to fix the leaks in coverage.

Everyone is jumping into the pool-the state-purchasing pool that is. States are beginning to dive into healthcare overhaul with almost artistic creativity, coming up with state-specific, collectively funded plans to fix the leaks in coverage.

Many states believe Washington politicians have failed to craft a sincere solution to cover all Americans, while the crisis grows exponentially in the meantime. States have acted out of necessity, and quite frankly, are more likely to hammer out bipartisan solutions than Congress. Besides, no one has forgotten how the national plan dubbed "Hillary Care" crashed and burned in 1994 because critics said it was overly bureaucratic and too limiting.

There are several facets of the various state proposals to address coverage for the uninsured and a variety of combinations:

RIPPLE EFFECT

Once everyone jumps into the pool, the next ripple would come in the form of unintended consequences, unfortunately. Various state plan critics contend that mandated coverage will only cause employers to lay off workers, outsource more, increase product and service prices or decrease current benefit levels. It all comes back to the old saying: If you want to cover everyone, you can't cover everything. Something is going to give somewhere, even if the critics haven't foreseen it yet. But the hope is that the benefit far outweighs the cost.

Julie Miller is editor-in-chief of MANAGED HEALTHCARE EXECUTIVE. She can be reached at julie.miller@advanstar.com