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Health care, stateside

A great deal of what happens next on moving ahead with the federal health care project will occur not on the federal but on the state level. The states most forcefully opposing the new law, which include Idaho, may not be on the front line of this. But others, including Oregon and Washington, are hitting the case at a run.

In Washington, Governor Chris Gregoire held a press conference today to announce a new “health care cabinet” to consider what the state could do next. This could sound like another study group, except that it has specific assignments: to “write and implement the policies and rules necessary to carry out health care reform statewide for all affected state agencies, including consolidating duties, functions and powers related to the state’s overall health care purchasing.”

Things are moving along faster in Oregon, where state Senator Alan Bates, D-Ashland, who was one of the prime movers behind the state’s health reform law a few years back, is developing legislation to create a state-run health insurance public option that could work within the context of the rest of the state and federal effort. Ulness the Oregon Legislature changes dramatically in November, you’d probably be unwise to bet against its passage.

Maybe even then, because at least one key Republican, Representative Dennis Richardson, R-Central Point (and not a caucus moderate), is quoted as saying he’s open to the idea, even if concerned about some of the possible provisions.

And indications of more coming soon.

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