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Recommended Reading

Introduction to State Health Policy

A Seminar for New State Legislators

This non-partisan seminar, co-sponsored with the National Conference of State Legislatures and held March 31 through April 3, 2005, was designed to provide an overview of major health policy issues facing State legislators who are new to health policy issues. The purpose of the seminar was to provide the legislators with sufficient background on specific issues to address them more quickly and effectively in legislative sessions.

Session 1: Roles of State Legislatures and State Government in Determining Health Policy

Recommended reading:

  • McDonough JE. Healthcare Policy: The Basics. Boston: The Access Project, 1999.
  • McDonough JE, McGrath R. "State Legislatures and Health Policy in the Market Era." In The New Politics of State Health Policy. Ed. Hackey RB, Rochefort DA. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas, 2001; 87-110.
  • Kingdon J. Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policy. Addison Wesley. 1995.
  • McDonough, J. & R. McGrath. "State Legislatures and Health Policy in the Market Era." In Hackey, R. editor. The New Politics of State Health Policy. Lawrence, University of Kansas Press, 2001. 87-112.
  • McDonough, J. Healthcare Policy: The Basics. Boston, The Access Project, 1999. 5-30. Also at:
  • Starr, P. The Social Transformation of American Medicine. Basic Books, 1982.

Session 2: State Roles in Regulating Health Care Markets: Balancing Cost, Access, and Quality

Recommended reading:

  • Nichols LM, Ginsburg PB, Berenson RA, Christianson J, Hurley RA. "Are Market Forces Strong Enough to Deliver Efficient Health Care Systems? Confidence Is Waning." Health Affairs March/April 2004;23(2):8-21.
  • Draper DA, Hurley RE, Short AC. "Medicaid Managed Care: The Last Bastion of the HMO?" Health Affairs March/April 2004;23(2):155-167.
  • Nichols LM, Blumberg LJ. "A Different Kind of 'New Federalism'? The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996." Health Affairs May/June 1998;17(3):25-42.
  • Nichols LM. "Improving State Insurance Market Reform: What's Left to Try?" In State Health Insurance Market Reform: Toward Inclusive and Sustainable Health Insurance Markets. Ed. Monheit AC, Cantor JC. London and New York: Routledge, 2004; 134-149.

Session 3: Quality and Cost: Achieving Value in Today's Health Care System

Recommended reading:

  • National Conference of State Legislatures. State Health Lawmakers' Digest Fall 2004;5(1).
  • Yondorf B. "Evidence-Based Medicine and State Health Policy." In Balancing Health Needs with Resources. National Conference of State Legislatures, September 2004.

Session 4: Understanding the Importance of Public Health

Recommended reading:

  • Gostin LO, Boufford JI, Martinez RM. "The Future of the Public's Health: Vision, Values, and Strategies." Health Affairs July/August 2004;23(4):96-107.
  • King M, Oliver L. "Investing in Cost-Effective Health Services and Strategies." In Balancing Health Needs with Resources. National Conference of State Legislatures, January 2004.

Session 5: Providing Access to Care, Part I: The Uninsured and the Health Care Safety Net

Recommended reading:

  • National Conference of State Legislatures. "Frequently Asked Questions...Access."
  • Williams CH, Fuchs BC. "Expanding the Individual Health Insurance Market: Lessons Learned from the State Reforms of the 1990s." The Synthesis Project Policy Brief. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. June 2004.
  • Scandlen G. "Health Savings Accounts." Health Issues. Alexandria: Galen Institute, December 17, 2003.
  • Schriver ML, Arnett G-M. "Uninsured Rates Rise Dramatically in States with Strictest Health Insurance Regulations." Backgrounder: Executive Summary. Washington: The Heritage Foundation, August 11, 1998;1211.
  • Turner, G-M. "New Studies Show Consumer-directed Care Reduces Costs and Improves Access." Health Issues. Alexandria: Galen Institute, 2004.

Session 6: Hot Issues in Health Care: Focus on Medicaid and SCHIP

Recommended reading:

  • National Conference of State Legislatures. "Frequently Asked Questions...SCHIP."
  • King M, Gordon D. "Medicaid: 10 Fixes that Work." State Legislatures, March 2004;14-18.
  • Smith V, Ramesh R, Gifford K, Ellis E, Rudowitz R, O'Malley M. The Continuing Medicaid Budget Challenge: State Medicaid Spending Growth and Cost Containment in Fiscal Years 2004 and 2005. Washington: The Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, October 2004.

Session 7: Health Care Workforce Issues

Recommended reading:

  • Gearson CJ, Fields H. "Medicine's Turf Wars." U.S. News & World Report, January 31, 2005.
  • National Conference of State Legislatures. "Frequently Asked Questions...The Health Care Workforce."

Session 8: The Crisis in Medical Malpractice Insurance

Recommended reading:

  • Bovbjerg RR, Raymond B. "Patient Safety, Just Compensation and Medical Liability." Issue brief. Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy, Summer 2003. Available at:
  • Bovbjerg RR. "Tort Replacement Solution for Medical Malpractice Crisis." Physician's News Digest, June 2003. Available from:
  • Schoenbaum SC, Bovbjerg RR. "Malpractice Reform Must Include Steps to Prevent Medical Injury." Annals of Internal Medicine 2004;140(1):51-3.
  • Bovbjerg RR. "Patient Safety and Physician Silence." Journal of Legal Medicine 2004;25:505-516.

Session 9: Prescription Drugs

Recommended reading:

  • The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. "The New Medicare Prescription Drug Law: Issues for Dual Eligibles with Disabilities and Serious Conditions." Issue paper. Washington: The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, June 2004. Available from:
  • The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. "Medicaid and the Prescription Drug Benefit: Cost Containment Strategies and State Experiences." Policy brief. Washington: The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, September 2002. Available from:

Session 10: Cost, Quality, and Access: Providing Long-term Care Services to an Increasingly Elderly and Chronically Ill Population

Recommended reading:

  • Mollica RL, Reinhard SC. "Rebalancing State Long Term Care Systems." Ethics, Law and Aging Review, (in print October 2005;11).
  • Donlin JM. "Long-term Care and the U.S. Supreme Court's Olmstead Decision." NCSL State Legislative Report, March 2002;12(7):1-11.
  • Vladeck BC. "Where the Action Really Is: Medicaid and the Disabled." Health Affairs January/February 2003;22(1):90-100.
  • Fox-Grage W, Folkemer D, Coleman B. "Budgeting for Long-term Care: Spending Limited Dollars More Wisely. NCSL State Legislative Report. July 2003;28(9):1-16.

Internet Citation:

Recommended Reading. Introduction to State Health Policy: A Seminar for New State Legislators. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.

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