The recent presidential election will likely bring changes to the nation’s health care system.
Though it is unclear at this point what those changes will be, it is certain that state governments will be at the forefront of implementing them. Catherine Hess, senior program director at the National Academy for State Health Policy, discussed the roles of federal and state governments in reforming health care during the Health Policy Task Force session during The Council of State Governments annual meeting Dec. 5.
Hess pointed out that while the U.S. ranks first among developed nations in dollars spent on health care, the country lags behind these same nations in innovations to improve the quality and efficiency of outcomes. That means state governments will play an essential role in improving the nation’s health care system, she said.
“To improve the system multiple state agencies across branches must be involved and engaged,” she said.
While many states already go beyond the federally required minimums for health coverage, states need to take the lead to ensure their residents have affordable, high quality health care, she said.
Hess suggested tools states can use to reach these goals, including better use of public-private partnerships, leveraged purchasing power and use of technology to streamline enrollment and retention.
Despite today’s economic environment, it is likely that major health care reform of some kind will be a priority of the new administration, Hess said, and added state officials should be prepared to play a major role in the implementation of this reform.