January 16, 2008.  As health care reform gains more of the spotlight in both national and state agendas, Community Catalyst and Families USA today announced the joint release of a unique web-based guide to state health reform for consumer advocates working on expanding health care coverage in their states.  The Consumer Guide to State Health Reform provides a detailed look at the basic building blocks of comprehensive health care coverage.

More and more states are prioritizing health care access reform to address the coverage gaps that exist and the affordability crisis in the health care system that continues to worsen, while also working to find ways to rein in health care costs.  Community Catalyst and Families USA work together with health care advocates in states across the country, providing policy and technical assistance on the many dynamic components that should be considered in any health reform effort.

“States are leading the movement toward meaningful health care reform, but every one of them has to evaluate its starting point and the paths available to get them to expanded coverage for everyone,” said Michael Miller, Policy Director at Community Catalyst.  “This guide is a significant resource that state advocates can use to explore the multitude of variables and policy options out there and learn from case studies where those decisions have been put into practice.  We hope this is valuable tool for advocates on-the-ground working to make the health care system accountable to everyone and that state and federal lawmakers are paying attention to the progress that is being made.”

”This collaboration between Families USA and Community Catalyst has produced a terrific resource for consumer health advocates,” said Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA.  “States across the nation are moving in the right direction to reduce the number of uninsured and contain rising health care costs.  This online tool walks through the menu of opportunities for consumer-friendly reform in a state and makes the ambitious endeavor of expanding coverage a little easier to undertake.  We hope this will enable advocates to dive into the process of expanding coverage in their state.”

The policy guide serves to help advocates design health coverage expansions that build upon the current system of public programs, employer-sponsored insurance and private market options.  It walks the user through the steps of laying a strong foundation of Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) coverage, regulating the private market, building subsidy programs and pooling mechanisms, ensuring adequate benefits and access to services, and finding sustainable financing.  Under each topic, the guide provides links to more in-depth descriptions and examples from states that have used these strategies.  Additionally, a comprehensive glossary of terms is available and integrated as links throughout the online resource.

Begin using the Consumer Guide to State Health Reform.

About Community Catalyst
Community Catalyst is a national non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to quality affordable health care for all.  Since 1997, Community Catalyst has been working to build the consumer and community leadership required to transform the American health system.  With the belief that this transformation will happen when consumers are fully engaged and have an organized voice, Community Catalyst works in partnership with national, state and local consumer organizations, policymakers, and foundations, providing leadership and support to change the health care system so it serves everyone—especially vulnerable members of society.  For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org.

About Families USA
Families USA is a national nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the achievement of high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans. Working at the national, state, and community levels, we have earned a national reputation as an effective voice for health care consumers for 25 years.