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February 2007

Governors Take on Health Care and the Uninsured

During January and February, governors across the country gave their State of the State addresses. While many governors focused on the lasting issues of creating jobs, guarding natural resources, and improving education, a significant number of their addresses noted the need for state-level health care reform, particularly around covering the uninsured and lowering overall costs of health care.

Many of the speeches singled out the rising cost of health care and its impact on small businesses, the working uninsured, and children’s health. Governors proposed a variety of coverage expansion strategies that would reduce the burden on these groups or individuals and provide access to affordable care. Proposals include increasing eligibility for Medicaid and other state programs to the maximum levels allowed by the federal government, covering children through Medicaid and SCHIP expansions, expanding dependent coverage for young adults, and implementing a tobacco tax to fund and develop state health care programs. Governors also addressed long-term care issues, strategies to encourage healthy lifestyles, and the importance of preventing chronic conditions rather than simply treating patients.

For complete, full-text information on the 2007 State of the State addresses, visit