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In State-of-the-State Speeches, Governors Present Healthcare Priorities

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, January 24, 2012

Gov. Jack Markell (D-Delaware)
"The incentives we have in place in our healthcare system reward neither efficiency nor quality. These incentives encourage more services and tests, not better results. We have a system that doesn't encourage healthy behavior in patients and doesn't discourage unhealthy behavior. In essence, we don't have a healthcare system; we have a sick care system.

"Delaware's biggest purchaser of healthcare, the state (government), needs to insist on incentives for providers that are aligned to improve quality and discourage waste. Our Medicaid population, and our state employees and retirees represent nearly 40% percent of the health insurance market here, accounting for a total of $1.7 billion of taxpayer expenditures. We look forward to working with the provider community to get these incentives right because the incentives at work today are the wrong ones. We are pleased that the Delaware Medical Society and Delaware Healthcare Association are already active on this issue and have agreed to work with us."

Gov. Nathan Deal's (R-Georgia)
"Georgians deserve a world-class, public medical university, and it will be a priority of this administration to have a medical college among the top 50 nationally. The Georgia Health Sciences University will seek to become the state's second National Cancer Institute designated Cancer Center. This designation would mean greater access to research dollars and enhance our ability to recruit top cancer specialists. To support this goal, my budget proposal includes an investment of $5 million.

"To address the need for additional health professionals in Georgia, we have been investing in the expansion of undergraduate medical education for several years. We must now take the next step in this process by increasing the number of graduate residency slots. My budget funds 400 new residency slots in hospitals across the state. We must ensure that no doctor trained in Georgia is forced to leave the state to complete his or her medical education."

Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter (R-Idaho)
"The Obama administration's so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandated establishment of a health insurance exchange in each state. I have struggled with the federal imposition of this mandate, in part because Idaho was exploring ways to create its own market-based health insurance exchange long before the federal law was adopted.

Still, last September I allowed State agencies to apply for a grant to prepare for the federal law while we continue fighting it in court. My decision to allow the application to be submitted simply preserved the opportunity for you and all Idahoans to discuss our options and decide what's best for our citizens.

"In the next few weeks we will continue to have those discussions—weighing all our options and the potential outcomes associated with each of them. It's important to remember that those discussions will be taking place in the context of the U.S. Supreme Court agreeing to consider the lawsuit that Idaho and 25 other states filed to protect the 10th Amendment rights of Idaho, and of the people, to choose."

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