2012 CSG National Conference

Mike Allen thinks the 2012 election is more historic than the 2008 election when Barack Obama became the first African-American elected president.

“I believe it changed forever how people will run for office, nationally, statewide and in legislative districts,” Allen, Politico’s chief political correspondent, said during Saturday’s keynote luncheon address.

The new federal surface transportation authorization bill includes many provisions welcomed by state governments. But the two-year bill, known as MAP-21, did not address long-term transportation revenue needs. Attendees learned how states are implementing MAP-21 and exploring potential new transportation revenue sources and got an update on the state of the nation’s infrastructure. Speakers included representatives from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Texas Department of Transportation, and Texas A&M University’s Texas Transportation Institute.

The recent Supreme Court decision on health care reform squarely placed the decision on expanding Medicaid eligibility in the hands of the states. Policymakers are grappling with a myriad of arguments on both sides—and struggling to balance what their states can afford and what their uninsured state residents need. State leaders who have studied the question and arrived at different answers shared their analyses. Dr. Joseph Thompson, Arkansas’ surgeon general, also reviewed his state’s progress in implementing the nation’s first statewide Medicaid payment reform initiative. Other speakers addressed significant reform efforts to control Medicaid costs in their states.

An estimated 26 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes, while another 79 million have prediabetes. Policymakers have a real chance to reduce the burden of diabetes on public health care systems, employers and individuals who have the disease. This session  presented a number of promising state policy initiatives, such as partnering with community YMCAs to increase physical activity opportunities, encouraging appropriate care models in schools for children with diabetes and ensuring timely screening for gestational diabetes. State legislators who have championed prevention and treatment, community program managers and others who have joined the battle for better health outcomes spoke during this session.

As the political dust surrounding health care reform settles, states are getting down to the business of establishing health insurance exchanges. Participants learned more about key health insurance exchanges issues in the 2013 legislative sessions. This workshop examined exchange planning and implementation efforts—looking at issues for both state-based and federally facilitated approaches, including partnerships. The panel focused on topics such as governance, regulatory oversight and financing, as well as general exchange policy.