Home Up Adult Health Literacy Aging Doctors Aging Healthcare Trends Benefit Costs Jump CA Senate Meds Reform California Failure Campaign for America's Future's Cancer Care Rationing Confidence Remains Low Disclose Medical Mistakes Confusion over Reform Deadly Medical Errors Demystify Doctor Office Diagnosis Uncertainty Disparities Remain Divided on Healthcare Cost Cuts Favored Divided We Fall Docs Need Nudging Drug Price Impact Elderly ER Needs Elderly Get Wrong Meds Emergency Room Report Emergency Visits Up Family Health Premiums Fatigued Nurses Mikstakes Fix Loopholes in HCR Forgiving Medical Errors Geriatric Lessons Growing Cost Guided Care Success Hard-Wired to Celebrities Health Behavior Changes Health Care Cost Factors Healthcare Cost Hurdles Healthcare Costs Rising Healthcare Issue Healthcare Poll Healthcare Polls Healthcare Reform Agenda Healthcare Law Support Declines Healthcare System Checkup Healthcare Worsens Health Center Capacity Healthcare Debated Healthcare Disparities Healthcare Non- Literacy Risk Health Team Talks HC Disparaties Report Healthcare Gap Grows Healthcare Costs Rise Healthcare Costs Up Health Literacy Important Hospital Deaths Drop Hospital Infection Costs Hospital Report Cards Infection Mortality Risk Infections Profit Hospitals Insurance Premiums Double Life Sustaining Program Low Healthcare Literacy MA Health Law Impact Medical Debt Missouri Healthcare Leaders More Primary Care Needed Nation Divided Over Reform New Benefits Take Effect New Law Information New Medical Specialists No Guarantees No Usual Doctor Nurse-Run Clinics Save Obama White Paper Online Health Information Patient Centered Decisions? Patient Safety Incidents Patients Drive Up Costs Pennnsylvania Grants Pharmacy Role in Healthcare Physician Empathy Important Poll Says Repeal Likely Potential Cost Savings Primary Care Crisis Primary Care Shortage Public Clinics Excel Recession Impact Healthcare Reform Benefits Boomers Reform Explalined Reform Mixed Bag Reducing Readmissions Repeal Support Drops Retiring Nurses, Advocacy Rising Costs Concern Senate HELP Stance Seniors ER Care Lacking Social Factor, Readmissions Special Care Performance State Initatives Struggle to Pay Healthcare Costs Surgery Centers Efficiency Surgery Deaths Drop Top Hospitals 2010 Uncompensated Care Impact Understand Health Insurance Understanding New Law Uninsured Costs Up Uninsured Issue Universal Heath Care Stances U.S. System Scorecard Weekend Admissions Wait 2009 Healthcare Spending Up 2011 Health Care Changes Too Much Care? 1 Million Uninsured Groiup Commends Rep






Adult Health Literacy
Aging Doctors
Aging Healthcare Trends
Benefit Costs Jump
CA Senate Meds Reform
California Failure
Campaign for America's Future's
Cancer Care Rationing
Confidence Remains Low
Disclose Medical Mistakes
Confusion over Reform
Deadly Medical Errors
Demystify Doctor Office
Diagnosis Uncertainty
Disparities Remain
Divided on Healthcare
Cost Cuts Favored
Divided We Fall
Docs Need Nudging
Drug Price Impact
Elderly ER Needs
Elderly Get Wrong Meds
Emergency Room Report
Emergency Visits Up
Family Health Premiums
Fatigued Nurses Mikstakes
Fix Loopholes in HCR
Forgiving Medical Errors
Geriatric Lessons
Growing Cost
Guided Care Success
Hard-Wired to Celebrities
Health Behavior Changes
Health Care Cost Factors
Healthcare Cost Hurdles
Healthcare Costs Rising
Healthcare Issue
Healthcare Poll
Healthcare Polls
Healthcare Reform Agenda
Healthcare Law Support Declines
Healthcare System Checkup
Healthcare Worsens
Health Center Capacity
Healthcare Debated
Healthcare Disparities
Healthcare Non- Literacy Risk
Health Team Talks
HC Disparaties Report
Healthcare Gap Grows
Healthcare Costs Rise
Healthcare Costs Up
Health Literacy Important
Hospital Deaths Drop
Hospital Infection Costs
Hospital Report Cards
Infection Mortality Risk
Infections Profit Hospitals
Insurance Premiums Double
Life Sustaining Program
Low Healthcare Literacy
MA Health Law Impact
Medical Debt
Missouri Healthcare Leaders
More Primary Care Needed
Nation Divided Over Reform
New Benefits Take Effect
New Law Information
New Medical Specialists
No Guarantees
No Usual Doctor
Nurse-Run Clinics Save
Obama White Paper
Online Health Information
Patient Centered Decisions?
Patient Safety Incidents
Patients Drive Up Costs
Pennnsylvania Grants
Pharmacy Role in Healthcare
Physician Empathy Important
Poll Says Repeal Likely
Potential Cost Savings
Primary Care Crisis
Primary Care Shortage
Public Clinics Excel
Recession Impact Healthcare
Reform Benefits Boomers
Reform Explalined
Reform Mixed Bag
Reducing Readmissions
Repeal Support Drops
Retiring Nurses, Advocacy
Rising Costs Concern
Senate HELP Stance
Seniors ER Care Lacking
Social Factor, Readmissions
Special Care Performance
State Initatives
Struggle to Pay Healthcare Costs
Surgery Centers Efficiency
Surgery Deaths Drop
Top Hospitals 2010
Uncompensated Care Impact
Understand Health Insurance
Understanding New Law
Uninsured Costs Up
Uninsured Issue
Universal Heath Care Stances
U.S. System Scorecard
Weekend Admissions Wait
2009 Healthcare Spending Up
2011 Health Care Changes
Too Much Care?
1 Million Uninsured
Groiup Commends Rep

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Bipartisan group of lawmakers proposes legislation that would provide Federal funding for state initiatives to expand Health Coverage to uninsured

Jan 18, 2007--A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Wednesday introduced legislation in both chambers of Congress that would provide grants to individual states, groups of states and portions of states to test various health reform strategies, CQ HealthBeat reports.

Grants could fund initiatives including tax credits, Medicaid or SCHIP expansions, and health savings accounts. Program proposals would be submitted to a bipartisan "State Health Innovation Commission," which then would present the proposals to Congress for review and funding. After five years, the commission would deliver a report to Congress on the effectiveness of the programs.

Under the bill, states also would be able to "ask for relief from federal laws that they think complicate efforts to cover the uninsured, such as tax law or the 1974 Employee Retirement Income Security Act," CQ HealthBeat reports. Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio), a co-sponsor of the bill, said there is no specific funding level for the bill aside from $3 million to $4 million in start-up funds.

Voinovich said that creating access to affordable, high-quality health care "is the greatest domestic challenge this nation faces," but he added that political pressures related to the 2008 presidential election make federal congressional reform "not realistic" at this time.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), the bill's primary author, said that most health care reform efforts are occurring at the state level and that Congress should "give states greater latitude and resources with which to experiment to accomplish those objectives."

Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), another co-sponsor, said, "Under our plan, states have a lot of freedom to think creatively and independently." Arthur Garson, dean of the University of Virginia School of Medicine and an adviser who helped Bingaman develop the bill, said, "The federal government has taken little substantive action, but the states have moved in impressive ways. This is a way to start moving, one state at a time, toward improving our health care system" (Carey, CQ HealthBeat, 1/17).

Coalition To Offer Proposal
In related news, a "diverse group of business, consumer and health care organizations" on Thursday is expected to announce a "closely guarded" plan for covering more uninsured children and adults, McClatchy/Wichita Eagle reports. The group -- called the Health Coverage Coalition for the Uninsured -- includes AARP, the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, America's Health Insurance Plans, Families USA, Pfizer and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The first phase of the coalition's plan "reportedly dovetails on efforts to reauthorize" SCHIP this year, McClatchy/Eagle reports. The coalition also is expected to propose increases in tax credits to help the uninsured pay for coverage, as well as insurance pools to help people obtain coverage.

The coalition's plan is "notable because it represents a unified action plan by organizations with varied and often competing interests -- and because lawmakers and their staffers were excluded from negotiations," McClatchy/Eagle reports.

Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack said, "We felt that for us to really achieve the consensus breakthrough that we were looking for that we should meet quietly and confidentially and without members of Congress participating. Now that we've concluded the process, we are very actively talking to members in both houses and on both sides of the aisle" about legislation to adopt the recommendations.

AHIP President Karen Ignagni said, "We wanted to craft something that appeals to Democrats, Republicans, conservatives and liberals, and has a balanced public-private approach. We think there's a moment in time now that various groups coming together can make a material difference." AFL-CIO, SEIU and the National Association of Manufacturers initially were part of the coalition but left "over disagreements about the final proposal," McClatchy/Eagle reports. JoAnn Volk, a health care lobbyist for AFL-CIO, said her organization wanted the coalition to call for universal health care (Pugh, McClatchy/Wichita Eagle, 1/17).

Association Health Plans
In other congressional news, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) on Wednesday said that he and Sen. Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) are looking for ways to win approval for a bill to allow small businesses to join together across state lines to form association health plans. Legislation was approved in the House during the last Congress but was rejected in the Senate.

The bill "faced fierce opposition from Democrats and several Republicans, who expressed concern that allowing small businesses to form insurance pools would permit them to bypass too many state regulations," CongressDaily reports.

"[P]ossibilities for compromise might still exist in terms of pooled health insurance plans within a regulated government framework," according to CongressDaily. Nelson said, "There is a middle ground being discussed," adding, "Sen. Enzi and I have talked about possible changes." Enzi last week told reporters that he is "making progress" in negotiations with colleagues.

Separately, Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) have introduced a bill that includes health tax credits for small businesses and federal grants for states to help businesses set up group purchasing cooperatives (Johnson, CongressDaily, 1/18).

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