Washington State Gets A Health Overhaul Head Start

Washington state's "patchwork of programs, pilot projects and other efforts" reflected in the health overhaul could give it a head start on implementing the new law, The Seattle Times reports. "Washington has already put in place many of the elements of the new federal health-care law, putting it closer than most states to making the federal law work for its residents." For instance, the Basic Health Program, which helps insure many working poor who would likely go without coverage elsewhere is "a model for the rest of the nation," Kathleen Sebelius, the federal health secretary, has said according to Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire (Ostrom, 4/1).

The state is also moving forward with new plans to ease the implementation of the federal health law, The Seattle Times reports in a second story. "Creating a 'health-care cabinet' and plan to bring federal health dollars into Washington state as soon as possible were among the steps announced Thursday by Gov. Chris Gregoire." Another part of the state's overhaul plan is to consolidate health services purchasing across different state government programs, such as Medicaid and Basic Health. Together, those programs make up a third of the state's budget (Ostrom, 4/1).

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