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Delivering on the Promise
The recently passed federal health care reform law will make significant changes in how health insurance and health care work for consumers, businesses, and local and state governments, as well as how insurers and providers operate. But whether Americans experience improved care, lower costs and greater access depends largely on what happens next.
The federal bill provides powerful tools. Many of its provisions go into effect automatically or are enforced through federal agencies. But several of the most important decisions are left up to states. Unless state leaders take advantage of this opportunity and put reform into action, consumers and businesses will continue to face soaring premiums and out-of-pocket costs. While there are federal backstops for state inaction, these are an inadequate substitute for the active engagement of on-the-ground policymakers who are able to adapt the law’s requirements to the unique policy and political landscape of their states.
Beyond formulating laws and regulations, states share responsibility for educating the public about health reform. Some of the new law’s changes take effect this year, and many consumers will not be aware of what new benefits are available to them.
This guide has been written to assist state policymakers and advocates as they engage with the numerous issues and opportunities presented by the new law.
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