In 2008, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) launched the Leaders’ Project on the State of American Health Care, an effort to produce a comprehensive health reform plan that could win support from both Republicans and Democrats. Former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle and Bob Dole worked together to negotiate a plan to ensure all Americans have quality, affordable health care. It was released in June 2009. Now that health reform has been signed into law, the BPC will turn to the next logical step—developing a bipartisan approach to help states meet their ongoing budgetary, demographic and health reform challenges.
Under the leadership of former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle and Bill Frist, the Health Project is bringing together policymakers and industry stakeholders for substantive collaboration in support of creating a more sustainable, accountable and efficient health care system. Failure to realize transformational change in our health system will make it impossible for states to meet their current or future public health, workforce, delivery and budgetary responsibilities. The Health Project seeks to achieve greater bipartisan support for these necessary changes to develop lasting and viable health system reforms.
Understanding the sensitive political climate around health reform, solving our health system crisis requires a new level of cooperation between federal and state governments. States urgently need pragmatic, workable solutions to meet the ongoing challenges of our health care system. The Health Project is embarking on a comprehensive review of the challenges confronting states as they deal with delivery, cost, and coverage demands. In all efforts, the Health Project will prioritize activities that are collaborative, not duplicative. The Health Project is engaging state, federal, business and workforce leaders in thoughtful, bipartisan dialogue, sharing best practices among states and hosting roundtable discussions and other public policy events. The Health Project is also undertaking communication, outreach, and educational activities to convey lessons learned and policy recommendations.
Initially, the Health Project will focus on four major areas of health reform policy to stimulate constructive deliberations at the state level:
- insurance reform and exchange development, implementation and innovation;
- options for state flexibility in the management and financing of Medicaid programs;
- the coordination and most effective use of information technology as a critically important tool for success in every aspect of health care delivery and financing; and
- the issues confronting the health professional workforce and how best to respond to these challenges.