Role of the States In Health Care Policy Essay

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The government’s responsibilities concerning health care has grown over the last 100 years. After the Great Depression, Social Security was formed; and in the 1960s, Medicare and Medicaid were enacted. Federal responsibilities grew until the “New Federalism” of the 1990s increased reliance on the states for health care (Longest, 2010, pp. 30-33). Smaller, more local government can represent its citizen’s values better, and it knows the nature of its citizens’ problems. The New Federalism did not significantly change health policy; it gave the states more authority in setting policy and more flexibility in administering programs (Longest, 2010, pp. 30-33).
States and localities became the primary authorities in regard to health and
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30-33). States are the principal resource for protecting the public’s health by conducting a wide range of activities. State health agencies collect and analyze information; conduct inspections; plan; set policies and standards; carry out national and state mandates; manage and oversee environmental, educational, and personal health services; and assure access to health care for underserved residents (Longest, 2010, pp. 30-33). They are involved in resource development and respond to health hazards and crises. As guardians, states have inherent power to act to protect its citizens. States also have the power to delegate agencies with authority to carry out activities in their interest.
Each state has a health agency that is headed by a health commissioner or secretary of health and a state health officer. Organizational units within the state agencies vary, but most states have programs for vital statistics and epidemiology. However, these programs can vary in importance and in content between states. One common theme between all states is Medicaid, the nation's largest health insurance program in terms of covered people (Maurer & Smith, 2005). As purchasers of healthcare services, states realize the financial relief from state Medicaid programs because these costs are shared with the federal government. In addition, CHIP was created by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, which helps states ensure low-income children who are

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