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July 2009 St@teside

New SCI Reports on State Efforts at Comprehensive Health Reform

The State Coverage Initiatives, along with the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, published two papers in June examining state-based efforts at comprehensive health reform.  Both were authored by Walter Zelman, Ph.D. 

Politics and Policy in State Health Reform,” which was co-authored by Alex Malamed, M.P.H., analyzes the comprehensive health reform efforts of Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and California.  The paper examined the reforms in five particular areas:

  • Systemic factors, like the economy and governance rules, that worked for or against reforms,
  • Financing of coverage expansions,
  • The policy development process,
  • The role of interest groups, and
  • Political leadership.

Swimming Upstream: The Hard Politics of Health Reform in California” tells the in-depth story of California’s 2007-2008 attempt at health reform gleaned from multiple insider interviews, news stories, and legislative reports.  The paper discusses the systemic factors at work in California, the policy choices that were made, and the efforts to reach compromise between the political parties and the interest groups.  It also explores the possible reasons the effort failed and highlights core lessons and suggested next steps at both the state and national level.