State lawmakers in 2007 may consider the universal healthcare law instituted in Massachusetts as an option for coverage, provided that funds are available to do this type of broad expansion, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association predicted in its annual State of the States report. Other options states may explore to expand coverage and improve care include employer premium subsidies and Medicaid best practices reforms, advancing health information technology networks, and promoting quality and cost transparency.
At least 10 more states will debate legislation to promote transparency, which in the past has included report cards on hospital-acquired infection rates, Blues officials said. In addition, momentum is building in the states to achieve universal coverage of children. In 2006, the trend was for states to turn to the private sector to help expand access to affordable care, Last year, 11 states created or expanded programs to make private insurance coverage affordable for low-income workers, the report stated. -- by Jennifer Lubell