Dept. of Silver Linings…

Jason Shifrin at the Healthcare Economist hosts the Health Wonk Review this week. My colleague Beth Capell has a post on HMO insolvency; I have a post hoping that the bad economic news nationally doesn’t necessarily mean bad news for health reform: after all, the New Deal and Great Society came about during similarly rocky times. Niko Karvounis at the HealthBeat blog takes the thought further.

The Blog Roundup of the Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report cites Beth Capell’s post about the importance of the Ninth Circuit ERISA decision about Healthy San Francisco. I have to agree. The opinion couldn’t have been written stronger, both to allow for state and local health reform, but to really show the path for reformers to bolster employer-based health coverage while avoiding problems with the federal ERISA law.

In the long run, this court decision trumps all the unfortunate vetoes made in the past week in importance, in terms of the boost that the decision provides to state health reform around the country. It was a tough week here in California, but the court decisions makes it easier to do reform in Sacramento and around the country, and that’s a positive outcome amidst the negativity. So the issue for state health reform refocuses on being able to pass a proposal, rather than to defend it in court.

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