In health care, states serve as the nation’s laboratories of reform – able to test innovations in financing, coverage, regulation, and care delivery. In 2007, states are leading the way on health insurance coverage expansion, leveraging a mix of policies including universal coverage, individual mandates, tax credits and Section 125 plans, and insurance “exchanges” or “connectors” to facilitate buying of affordable health plans.

Because so much is going on and since I do a fair amount of workin this area, several readers of the Piper Report asked me to post some resources on what’s going on in the states. So here you go.

State Health Reform Commissions:

Several states have created task forces or study committees to examine options for coverage expansion and make recommendations. Most are appointed by the governor or governor and legislative leaders. A few are special committees of the legislature. Here are states with health reform commissions:

Governors’ Health Care Reform Initiatives:

Several governors have announced detailed health reform proposals. Most focus largely or entirely on coverage expansion but several also thankfully include initiatives to improve quality of care, combat medical errors, and/or increase transparency of provider prices and performance.

More Resources on State-Based Health Reform:

Massachusetts, of course, started the ball rolling with its groundbreaking, bipartisan reform initiative in 2006. To learn more, here’s an excellent article from BNA’s Health Policy Report on the impact of Massachusetts health reform on coverage expansion efforts in others states (PDF).

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) maintains a helpful list of legislative bills on universal coverage proposed in states.

For the best books on health reform, Medicaid, and other hot topics in health care, please visit my book recommendations.

For latest state-specific data on health care coverage and spending, check out the free, easy-to-use tools on StateHealthFacts.org.

Questions on State Health Reform:

Feel free to contact me if you have questions on what’s going on in the states.