Bipartisanship and State Health Policy: Recent Work from the Fund

December 19, 2018

If durable policy remains the result of bipartisan efforts, what does the future of state health care reform look like? In a new NEJM Perspective piece, The Future of Health Care Reform — A View from the States on Where We Go from Here, Christopher Koller, Fund president, along with researchers Christina Pagel and David K. Jones, asked state health policy leaders about what a shift toward state action means for the future of reform. The themes that moved to the top included a focus on the social determinants of health and developing a common language for discussing health care costs.

The NEJM Perspective piece grew out of David K. Jones’ Fund report from April 2018 on Views from the Heartland: Prospects for Bipartisanship in Health Reform. For the report, Jones traveled to Kansas and Colorado to ask Republican and Democrat legislators about their concerns when it came to health reform. As a jumping off point, Jones used 2017 research from Christina Pagel in which she asked Democrats and Republicans about state legislator priorities for health policy goals.

The Fund’s recent work in bipartisan action on health care reform also includes its 2016 Letter to the New Administration, written by members of the Reforming States Group (RSG), one of the nation’s only bipartisan groups of health policy leaders from both the executive and legislative branches of state government. The agenda outlined in the letter was endorsed by the RSG, demonstrating that, as one member noted, “Improving population health need not be a partisan issue.”

“The Fund has a 25 year history of fostering bipartisanism in state health policy,” said Koller. “The need for respectful dialogue on these issues is only growing greater.”