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'The Business of Health Care Report'

The State Role in Health Care Reform

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I’m Doug Hawthorne, president and CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

As we all know, America’s health care system needs reform. With 46 million people uninsured and 30 million more underinsured, individuals, businesses and government agencies – in fact every sector of our economy – are suffering.

In many instances, states are taking the initiative to drive change.

Just last year, state legislatures produced three historic health care laws. Maryland enacted the Fair Share Health Care Act, requiring companies with more than 10,000 employees to put an amount equal to at least 8 percent of their payroll into a state fund for health care for the uninsured. Massachusetts enacted a law providing incentives and programs for all residents to have health care coverage by July 1, 2007. And Vermont enacted its own universal coverage law, projected to cover 96 percent of residents by 2010.

Traditionally, states have served as laboratories to develop innovative policies that might be adopted nation-wide if and when they are proven effective. Our hope is that these state-level initiatives will lead us closer to developing a national health care policy to control the costs, increase access and improve the quality of health care for all citizens.

For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based hospitals – Harris Methodist, Presbyterian and Arlington Memorial – I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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