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Newsletter Article


State Ballot Initiatives

On Election Day 2008, voters across the country voted for or against 153 ballot initiatives on issues specific to their states. Of the fewer than 20 ballot initiatives related to health care, three were related specifically to health system reform. (For information about other health-related ballot initiatives including those related to medical marijuana, abortion, long-term care, bonds for financing health care services, and other issues see:

The three state ballot initiatives related to health system reform—in Montana, Arizona, and Maine—do not seem to indicate a national trend toward or away from any particular type of health reform strategy. Montana voters supported expansion and coordination of publicly funded children's health coverage, while Arizona voters narrowly rejected a state Constitutional amendment that would have prohibited an individual or employer mandate or a single-payer system. Both of these referenda suggest support for state initiatives to expand coverage. Maine voters, on the other hand, rejected replacing the current funding mechanism for the Dirigo Health Plan—which provides subsidized coverage to small firms and low-income workers and their families—with a new, potentially more stable financing method. It is likely, however, that the Maine vote expressed the public's rejection of new taxes during difficult economic times rather than support for or against the Dirigo health program.

Below we describe these three 2008 ballot initiatives in more detail.

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