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Major Elements Of The Healthy Rhode Island Reform Act Of 2008 Pass General Assembly

Lt. Gov. Roberts to continue work to implement reforms and push for insurance for all Rhode Islanders

PROVIDENCE— Four major pieces of Lt. Gov. Roberts' Healthy Rhode Island Reform Act of 2008 have passed the General Assembly and made it to the Governor's desk. The legislation puts into place a number of building blocks to begin to control costs and focus on quality, steps that will enable future health care reforms. Lt. Gov. Roberts now announces her challenge to health care stakeholders both in and out of government to join her in working together to implement the reforms put in place by this legislative package and to continue moving health reform forward in the Ocean State.

"Over the past nine months I have met with hundreds of Rhode Islanders, to hear from the people most affected by the problems we confront in our health care system. One thing I've heard loud and clear is that inaction on health care reform is not an option," Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts said. "The passage of this legislation is a significant step, but the true work lies ahead. Now I am reaching out to the health care industry, policy-makers, and everyday Rhode Islanders to drive these changes forward. Health care reform will not get any easier, so now it is time to roll up our sleeves and make these, and future, reforms a reality for Rhode Islanders.”

The passage of the Regional Health Insurance Market initiative is the first step in giving Rhode Islanders more health insurance options. By moving to open up the Rhode Island market through reciprocal licensure for health insurers already licensed to do business in other New England states, more value-priced options will become available to Rhode Island businesses and individuals seeking new approaches to coverage. Already, Tufts Health Plan is making strides to re-enter the Rhode Island health insurance market. Another piece of legislation that will benefit the consumer is the Quality and Value Database that also passed this session. Until now, the public has had no way to track the true cost and effectiveness of health care, and this database will shine a spotlight on cost and quality information for health care consumers like never before.

Another piece of reform legislation that passed focuses on patients and ensuring that they have the best health outcomes. In our current system, health care providers are paid to perform procedures, not to keep patients healthy— which is bad for patients, bad for doctors, and bad for the system. The Healthy RI Strategic Plan and Chronic Care Management Plan which passed this session will work to reverse this and compensate doctors for keeping patients healthy through preventive care and chronic disease management.

Finally, the passage of the Joint Legislative Task Force ensures that forward momentum on health reform continues past this legislative session. This task force will be co-chaired by a Senator, a Representative and the Lieutenant Governor. This core group of elected policy makers will create and sustain momentum for change and will make recommendations for additional reforms.

"I commend the General Assembly and the committment of the sponsors of the entire Healthy Rhode Island Reform Act of 2008 to transforming our health care system and making a positive difference in the lives of all Rhode Islanders," Roberts said. "I look forward to working this summer and fall to bring a new set of ideas for further health reform next session."

Rhode Islanders interested in working with Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts on the health care reform implementation should contact her office at (401) 222-2371, or email healthreform@ltgov.ri.gov.

** Legislative Citations and Sponsors:

Regional Health Insurance Market : H-7493B by Rep. Frank Ferri (D-Warwick), Rep. Peter Lewiss (D-Westerly), Rep. Lisa Baldelli-Hunt (D-Woonsocket), Rep. Jan Malik (D-Warren, Barrington), and Rep. Thomas Winfield (D-Smithfield, Glocester) S-2286B by Sen. James Sheehan (D-North Kingstown, Narragansett), Sen. Rhoda Perry (D-Providence), Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-South Kingstown, New Shoreham), Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Paiva Weed (D-Newport, Jamestown), and Sen. William Walaska (D-Warwick)

Quality and Value Database: H-7465A by Rep. Joseph McNamara (D-Warwick, Cranston), Rep. Peter Lewiss (D-Westerly) and Rep. Eileen Naughton (D-Warwick) S-2841B by Sen. Charles Levesque (D-Portsmouth, Bristol), Sen. Rhoda Perry (D-Providence), Sen. June Gibbs (R-Tiverton, Newport, Middletown, Little Compton), Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-South Kingstown, New Shoreham), and Sen. Hanna Gallo (D-Cranston)

Healthy RI Strategic Plan and Chronic Care Management Plan: H-7352A by Rep. Al Gemma (D-Warwick), House Majority Leader Gordon Fox (D-Providence), Rep. Raymond Church (D-North Smithfield, Burrillville), Rep. Amy Rice (D-Portsmouth, Newport, Middletown), and Rep. Gregory Schadone (D-North Providence) S-2484B by Sen. Juan Pichardo (D-Providence), Sen. Paul Jabour (D-Providence), Sen. Hanna Gallo (D-Cranston), Sen. Rhoda Perry (D-Providence), and Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Paiva-Weed (D-Newport, Jamestown)

Joint Legislative Task Force: H-7466 by Rep. Peter Lewiss (D-Westerly), Rep. Raymond Church (D-North Smithfield, Burrillville), Rep. Frank Ferri (D-Warwick), Rep. Al Gemma (D-Warwick), and Rep. Thomas Slater (D-Providence) S-2222 by Sen. John Tassoni, Jr. (D-Smithfield, North Smithfield), Sen. Rhoda Perry (D-Providence), Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Paiva-Weed (D-Newport, Jamestown), and Senate President Joseph Montalbano (D-Pawtucket, North Providence, Lincoln)

Related links

Department or agency: Elizabeth Roberts, Office of the Lieutenant Governor

Online: http://www.ltgov.state.ri.us/

Release date: 07-02-2008

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