May | june 2014


What is the most effective thing state government officials can do to improve the health of their constituents?

 

GET AFFORDABLE HEALTH INSURANCE

Rep. Beth McCann
COLORADO
Majority Caucus Whip, Chair of the Health,
Insurance & Environment Committee
“We must help constituents get adequate and affordable health insurance, as well as improve access to health providers. Equally important, we must encourage public and private efforts to lower costs and improve health care quality. The expansion of Medicaid in Colorado and the Colorado Health Exchange begin to offer coverage for the previously uninsured. We still need to recruit, retrain and keep providers to serve our rural and low-income communities. To keep health care affordable, we have set a goal of reducing Medicaid costs by $280 million. Finally, we must advance payment reform in the public and private sectors and push the use of electronic health records.”
 

FOCUS ON WELLNESS PROMOTION

Sen. Jean Hunhoff
South Dakota
Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee
“Legislatures as they are developing health policy need to focus on wellness promotion and individual responsibility for taking care of self. Medicaid, state employee health coverage and programming for families and children … can identify programs that work to promote positive lifestyles. … Legislation (such as) banning texting, helmet legislation, speed zones or even how roadways and bike trails are planned all lead to creating a healthy work and recreational environment. … It is the thoughtful process that surrounds passing legislation and recognizing the impacts of that legislation that creates all the opportunities to promote positive life styles.”
 

PROVIDE LOCAL ACCESS TO CARE

Rep. Linda Miller
Iowa
Chair of the Human Resources Committee
“Providing local access to care and a comprehensive benefits package is driving healthy behaviors for Iowans that will enroll in the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan. The … plan is Iowa’s innovative answer to Medicaid expansion. … Members are divided into two categories based on income. Members receive Medicaid services or enroll in a commercial health (plan). Premiums, which can be waived based on the completion of certain healthy behaviors, drive accountability and help improve the health of Iowans. More than 80,000 people have enrolled in the plan. Iowa is a leader in health care and it is remarkable that our state has been able to gain approval by the federal government and implement this bipartisan plan in under a year.”
 

ADDRESS ACCESS AND AFFORDABILITY

Rep. Gail Haines
Michigan
Chair of the Health Policy Committee
“The most effective tool state government officials possess that would lead to improved health of their constituents is addressing access to and affordability of medicines and all forms of health care. Far too many Michiganders lack the basic medical resources and attention that they deserve. While a complex issue, economics combined with politics too often dictate who receives health care. The legislature must encourage a competitive market place where medical costs are transparent and providers and insurers are held accountable. Appropriate solutions do exist. It is incumbent upon state government officials to work together in a bipartisan collaboration to find one.”
 

PATIENT-CENTERED MEDICAL HOMES

Sen. Edna Brown
Ohio
Minority Whip
Co-chair of CSG’s Health Public Policy Committee
“Access to a patient-centered medical home through policies and funding is the most effective thing state government can do to improve the health of their constituents. The (patient-centered medical home) can be a private practice or a qualified health care center. When patients feel welcome, respected and comfortable with everyone from support staff to direct care providers at a facility, they are more apt to seek medical care. This means good health care delivered in a cost-effective manner that benefits the constituent community as a whole.”