Health care reform watchers here in Massachusetts are following local details as they unfold, interrupted somewhat by the changing of the guard as Patrick appointees will fill various posts now held by Romney appointees.
Many of us follow with interest developments in other states as well (see this post and comment). Some in the business community are concerned that the Massachusetts law goes too far in terms of imposing obligations on employers.
How refreshing it is, then, to hear from Jay Ragley, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business/South Carolina, a small-business advocacy group. He wrote an op-ed piece, on the need for choice in health insurance for small business, that ran in yesterday’s Greenville (S.C.) News. His piece, and the comments posted on the News website taking issue with it, show that the debate is alive and well not only in MA, NJ, CA, etc., but also in states like SC, described by Ragley as needing health insurance reform and being plagued with extremely poor health status across the population at large. I don’t know anything else about the insurance market or legislative agenda in SC, but here’s hoping that national engagement with these issues will have positive effects in each state.
Health Access America says
The rising number of uninsured Americans represents the most important health care issue facing the nation today. Health Access America, founded by the Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC), will come to Columbia as a year-long national effort to press for action in Washington. This program aims to link currently uninsured individuals and families with existing private and public coverage options.
HLC initiated its first Health Access America campaign in 2001 and made a major impact with research that changed public understanding regarding the face of the uninsured. HLC-commissioned research discovered that eight of every 10 uninsured Americans live in a wage-earning household.
Health Access America will advocate bipartisan public policy measures that will increase the accessibility of private health coverage and improve the efficacy of existing public programs. The campaign’s message will be two-fold: (1) the problem of the uninsured affects all Americans and must be addressed and (2) private and public coverage options are available for a significant number of the uninsured.
A proactive effort is essential to ensure that as many people as possible are linked with plans and programs. Health Access America will work with local partners to increase public awareness about the value of insurance and opportunities for coverage through various methods including grassroots community outreach, advocacy and education, research and polling.