Article • Last updated on Apr 22, 2024

State Health Policy

The Center for American Progress works with state governments to strengthen public health systems; lower health care costs; and improve access to affordable, high-quality health coverage.

A nurse practitioner speaks with a patient at a nonprofit children's health clinic that provides affordable care in Commerce City, Colorado, December 2016. (Getty/Kathryn Scott)
A nurse practitioner speaks with a patient at a nonprofit children's health clinic that provides affordable care in Commerce City, Colorado, December 2016. (Getty/Kathryn Scott)

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State governments have the opportunity to improve health care coverage, access, and affordability. States can test and scale reforms that could serve as models for other states and provide a foundation for systemwide reforms at the federal level in the future.

The Center for American Progress regularly engages with state-level officials, including governors’ offices, health secretaries, departments of insurance, and state legislators, to design and advance policies in targeted areas. We provide research and analysis, policy development, technical assistance, and advocacy support to states. In addition, we monitor and evaluate innovative state reforms and disseminate insights and best practices.

State work

Below are examples of CAP’s previous work to support states in achieving their health policy goals.

In Pennsylvania, CAP worked on policies to lower costs and improve the quality of care across the statewide health care system. Working with the secretary of health, CAP developed a compendium of policy options, including global budgets for hospitals, that the state implemented for rural hospitals under a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation model.

In Nevada, CAP worked to lower insulin costs for diabetics. CAP’s outreach and advocacy led to the introduction and enactment of legislation in 2017 that requires price transparency for insulin.

In New Jersey, CAP worked on lowering costs and improving quality for the state employee health benefits plan. CAP collaborated with the Governor’s Office and the secretary of human services; the latter was also the chair of the State Health Benefits Quality and Value Task Force. Analyzing claims data obtained from the state, CAP showed the variation in prices across counties for select procedures. CAP presented its findings and recommendations to the task force in May 2019. In 2022, CAP provided analysis to the New Jersey Governor’s Office on policy options to expand coverage to the state’s remaining uninsured population.

In New Mexico, CAP worked on lowering prescription drug costs for the state and its residents. CAP worked with the Office of the Governor and the Interagency Pharmaceuticals Purchasing Council, which was created to evaluate the state’s drug pricing policies. CAP conducted a comprehensive review of reforms across states, summarized lessons learned, and analyzed their applicability to New Mexico.

In North Carolina, CAP worked to improve retention and training among the direct care workforce. During the COVID-19 pandemic, CAP supported a shift in priorities to enhance safety and compensation for long-term care employees.


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