State Health Policy Project

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

State governments have the opportunity to lead on implementing reforms to lower health care costs and improve the quality of care. 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’ State Health Policy Project (SHPP) engages with governors’ offices and state health secretaries to design and advance polices in targeted areas. The SHPP provides research and analysis, policy development, and advocacy support to states. To build public support for these policies, the SHPP provides localized analysis of the benefits and organizes educational forums and coalition-building roundtables with local stakeholders. In addition, the SHPP monitors and evaluates innovative state reforms and disseminates insights and best practices.

Case studies

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, which the state is implementing for rural hospitals under a new 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, which covers 800,000 employees. CAP worked with the governor’s office and the secretary of human services, who is 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 New Mexico, CAP worked on lowering prescription drug costs for the state and its residents. CAP worked with the governor’s office 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. CAP’s research and analysis continues to guide the council’s agenda and policymaking.

Select publications