In a year of incremental reforms, creating or expanding medical high-risk pools was the most popular approach among cash-strapped states to address healthcare access and affordability, with 11 states passing legislation regarding high-risk pools, the national Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association said in a new report. A few states also sought to expand public healthcare programs in 2004 despite their own budget woes. For example, Florida eliminated the waiting list for its Children's Health Insurance Program, covering 90,000 additional children. Universal coverage bills were introduced in some state legislatures, but none is expected to pass, the Blues association said. In 2005, states will try to reduce Medicaid spending and will seek greater flexibility in crafting Medicaid benefits packages, the association said. -- by Tony Fong
High-risk pools popular with states in 2004: report
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