State Policy Network

SPN Trend Report: State Healthcare Reform

Within the first six weeks of the pandemic, all 50 states enacted some type of healthcare reform to expand the number of providers, supplies, and facilities that could support communities through the public health crisis. These healthcare reforms have helped communities weather the pandemic, but they have also opened the door to much-needed long-term fixes for our healthcare system.

2021 State Healthcare Reform Opportunities

The next opportunity for state policymakers is simple:

Make these healthcare policy changes permanent so that Americans can receive affordable, quality healthcare when they need it most.

To help state leaders identify opportunities to keep good healthcare policies in place, this trend reports offers an overview of which state healthcare reforms have been adopted in the past year.

Five Healthcare Policy Reforms States Should Keep and Expand

  • Licensing Expansion: Increase the number of healthcare providers by recognizing licenses for out-of-state healthcare providers and making it easier for in-state medical professionals to obtain a license.
  • Telehealth Expansion: Allow patients to seek care remotely in a safe, convenient environment.
  • Certificate of Need Reform: Allow providers to expand healthcare facilities or essential medical supplies without having to seek the state’s permission first.
  • Scope of Practice Expansion: Empower healthcare professionals, such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, to use the full range of their medical skills by removing restrictions on the types of care they can provide.
  • Surprise Billing Reform: Give patients financial peace of mind by making medical costs transparent up front and eliminating unanticipated exorbitant medical bills.

By keeping and expanding these healthcare reforms, states can improve healthcare quality, access, and cost for years to come.

Percentage of States That Adopted Healthcare Reforms

Expanded healthcare licensing or recognition of licenses recognition across state lines
Expanded scope of practice for various healthcare providers
Expanded telehealth options or coverage
Repealed or waived Certificate of Need regulations
Eliminated or reformed surprise medical billing