On January 17, 2007, lawmakers in the House and Senate introduced identical bills (H.R. 506 and S. 325) aimed at funding innovative State initiatives that expand coverage and access to the uninsured and improve quality and efficiency in the health care system. The bills, the “Health Partnership Act” in the Senate and the “Health Partnership Through Creative Federalism Act” in the House, authorize States to apply for a five-year grant to fund a State healthcare expansion and improvement program for the entire State or for regions of the State. The States’ proposals may include a variety of reform options such as tax credit approaches, expansion of public programs such as Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, the creation of purchasing pooling arrangements, individual market purchasing options, single risk pool or single payer systems, health savings accounts, a combination of these options or other alternatives.

The bills would create a bipartisan federal commission, to be known as the “State Health Innovation Commission,” to monitor the States, and at the end of the 5-year period submit a report to Congress on each State’s progress. The Commission’s report will also include recommendations on improving national health care reform. We will provide updates on InsureReinsure.com once Congress takes action on either bill.