This spring, the fellows went to Massachusetts and Oregon to gain an understanding of the interaction between federal and state health policy as well as to observe the variation in how the two states implement that policy. 06-07 Fellow Nancy Hardt was impressed by the variation in the challenges states must face. "The trip gave me a greater appreciation for the diversity between the states. For example, both states have almost the same number of uninsured people. But the ratio of uninsured to insured is markedly different." During the four days of meetings, the fellows met with many key health leaders from numerous state organizations and government agencies. The 60 or so informal gatherings provided revealing and lasting assessments of particular conditions affecting developing health events in Massachusetts and Oregon.
The annual trips also offer fellows an opportunity to witness how the decisions made at the federal level affect the selected states. As 06-07 Fellow Arthur Kellermann said, "State-level health policy is where the “rubber meets the road” for much of health care in the U.S. The visits not only offered a perfect contrast of approaches, but allowed us to compare how key concerns about coverage and cost containment are being addressed at the state level versus our experience in Congress."
Health Reform was the topic as the 2006-2007 Fellows traveled to Massachusetts in early April. While there, the fellows had an opportunity to meet with many of the legislators, executive staff, advocates and players involved in the recent health reform law and its implementation. A special thanks to alumnus Jay Himmelstein ('91-'92) and his staff for making this trip possible.
Also, special thanks goes to alumnus David Pollack ('98-'99) for helping organize the Oregon part of this trip -for the second year in a row. In Oregon, the Fellows received a comprehensive survey of Oregon’s health care and health policy systems, as well as a look at the health reform process underway. They spent a day in Portland and a day in Salem meeting with many of the individuals and groups directly involved in developing the next phase of Oregon’s health reform.