Last Thursday, together with over 40 members of the Healthy RI Task Force, I released an 82-page report titled, "Getting National Health Reform Right for Rhode Island," at the Providence Community Health Center. It was exactly six months from the signing date of the national health reform law.
Although the law is certainly not perfect, there are many reforms that will benefit our families and businesses. In order to take advantage of these benefits, we must be aware and informed of important dates, deadlines and requirements that need to be met as the law takes effect. I brought together the Task Force to take on this challenge, and over 150 dedicated Rhode Islanders from a cross section of Rhode Island's health care community rose to meet it, generously volunteering their time to get the work done.
The resulting Healthy RI report is meant to serve as a guide for those who are not familiar but need to become familiar with the law in order to help the state set priorities for the opportunities, as well as challenges, that exist in the law. The report sets out the state-level policy decisions that need to be made with recommendations for arriving at those decisions. The aim is to ensure that Rhode Island provides high quality, affordable, sustainable health care for families and businesses in the state.
In upcoming weeks I'll be meeting with and briefing gubernatorial candidates, general assembly leadership, and other decision makers about the report's contents to review the work of the seven work groups, among them: insurance market reform and coverage expansion; developing a health insurance exchange for more Rhode Islanders to get affordable health insurance; making payment and delivery system reforms; and accessing federal funding for reforms.
Despite the differences of professional perspectives and interests in the group, the Task Force members worked together collaboratively throughout the process, and I am grateful for their ongoing commitment to making sure that all Rhode Islanders have access to high quality, affordable health care.