New Roles for States in Health Reform Implementation

State policies and implementation practices will largely determine whether the new federal health reform law translates into more affordable coverage and access to health care services. States will play particularly important roles with respect to Medicaid expansion, the creation of insurance exchanges, and the new market rules for insurance. The decision of whether or not to create an exchange looms as the most important and consequential one for states. To achieve effective implementation, each state will need a coherent vision to guide its work. States will need help from the federal government and stakeholders and must learn from each other during implementation.