The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: (202) 546-9707

Health Care Reform - Spotlight Shifts to the States

New report outlines how states can strengthen and improve the federal law


The new federal health care reform law puts state leaders in
the driver's seat, but it's up to them to implement and improve on
the law in order to ensure it offers the best deal to consumers.

on the Promise, a new report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, lays out
what is at stake and shows how state policy makers can improve on the law with
specific recommendations and policy advice.

"The futures of our
families, our businesses, and our country depend on whether states make this
new law work for their residents at the ground level," explained Larry
McNeely, Health
Care Advocate
with U.S. PIRG and co-author of the report.

on the Promise
guidance to state policy-makers on how to build an effective health insurance
exchange where families and small businesses can pool their buying power to
drive better bargains with insurers.

"Done right, these
exchanges will be the real game-changers. Proper design can enhance
competition and give states the leverage to really drive down costs,"
McNeely said.

The report also enumerates
several new federal grant programs available to help states transform their
health care systems. It also spotlights opportunities to build on the federal
law with aggressive state-level policies around simplified insurance paperwork,
health IT, and restrictions on pharmaceutical marketing. And, while the federal
law ultimately did not include a public health insurance option, states have
the ability to create one to serve their own residents, Delivering on the

"The new federal health
care law opens the door for lower costs and security," McNeely
concluded. "But it's states that must step through it."

The report is available online
by clicking here.

U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.