Now that the Island Health Plan has received a green light from officials on Beacon Hill, leaders of this grassroots affordable insurance program must turn their attention home - enlisting doctors and Island business owners to sign on to this experimental project.

"We all want this to work. Now is the time for all the players to translate their words into action," said Tad Crawford, chairman of the Dukes County Health Council.

The state legislature has given final approval to the Island Health Plan to make use of millions of dollars in state subsidies for the grassroots health insurance initiative.

After more than a year of inching toward legislative approval, this week's senate override vote gives the needed clearance to begin offering low-rate insurance to Islanders without it.

While Vineyarders await a legislative vote needed to make the Island Health Plan (IHP) a reality, some Island health officials are already worrying about the impact of the new affordable insurance program on existing Island medical services.

The Island Health Plan, which seeks to provide affordable health insurance for many of the estimated 3,000 Islanders now living without it, is poised to win legislative approval that will enable the nonprofit group to begin work this spring.