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School of Business Hosts More Than 700 to Explore “The Business of Health Care Post-Election”

February 04, 2013
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While there will be "bumps in the road" as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is implemented, the U.S. health care system will remain largely intact, according to national policy experts at “The Business of Health Care Post-Election,” a February 1 conference hosted by the School of Business Administration's Center for Health Sector Management and Policy.

"Health care is one of the most complex issues facing our country today," said Gene Anderson, the School’s dean, in his opening remarks. "Addressing those policy, planning and business challenges requires a collaborative approach and multidisciplinary thinking."

More than 700 business and health care executives, physicians, nurses and other providers, as well as undergraduate and graduate students, attended the conference at the BankUnited Center. The conference was supported by presenting sponsors Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Florida Blue, as well as other organizations.

"We received an overwhelming response from the health care and business communities," said Steven Ullmann, professor of management and director of the Center for Health Sector Management and Policy. "The timing was right to examine the policy and business issues that will be shaping health care in the next few years."

  

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle was the keynote speaker.

Keynote speaker Tom Daschle, former U.S. Senate majority leader and senior policy advisor, DLA Piper, said the U.S. Supreme Court decisions upholding the ACA and the re-election of President Obama in November helped settle the question of the government's role in the nation's private-public health care system.

"While this is a time of tectonic change and uncertainty, the basic character of the American health sector will remain largely intact," he predicted. "Despite the partisan debate, I think we do have a consensus on the basics. No one would disagree that there is a cost problem, and there is no debate about access to healthcare or the need for quality care."

The first of three panel discussions at the day-long conference focused on "The Politics, Policy and Federal Budget Implications of Health Care Reform," with Patrick Geraghty, chairman and CEO, Florida Blue, serving as moderator.

Mark McClellan, who served as administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and senior director of health care policy under President George W. Bush, focused on the difficulties in implementing the ACA in the coming year.

"The first step involves setting up rules of the road," said McClellan, now the director and Leonard D. Schaeffer Chair in Health Policy Studies of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at the Brookings Institution. McClellan called for a strong communications program to consumers, since new health care exchanges to purchase insurance will become available in October and other provisions will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. "There will be bumps along the way, and some ACA provisions will likely be phased in gradually," McClellan said.

   

Anne E. Phelps (left), Principal, Health Care Leader, Washington Council, Ernst & Young, and Karen Ignagni, President and CEO, America's Health Insurance Plans

UM President Donna E. Shalala moderated the second session, "Health Care Policy Following the Elections and its Impact on Health Insurers, Businesses and Individuals." In her comments, Shalala said,  "The ACA is facing a complex future as our nation deals with the emerging challenges and opportunities. Events like this conference help bring the community together to exchange ideas and find solutions."

In that session, Anne E. Phelps, principal, health care leader, Washington Council, Ernst & Young, focused on the ACA's impact on large employers, who now provide coverage to nearly 160 million people. "There are many reasons why employers offer insurance, and we need to keep them in the game," she said. If employers drop coverage because of higher costs, employees will likely ask for bigger paychecks to compensate, and employers will lose control of this important benefit, Phelps added.

  
From left to right: Richard L. Clarke, Former President and CEO, Healthcare Financial Management Association (moderator), with panelists James T. Olsen, Managing Director and Head of Healthcare Advisory Services, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Robert Galvin, MD, CEO, Equity Healthcare Operating Partner, The Blackstone Group, and Former Executive Director, Health Services and Chief Medical Officer, General Electric

The third session, "Capitalizing on New Business Opportunities Arising from the Transformation of the U.S. Health Care System," was moderated by Richard L. Clarke, former president and CEO, Healthcare Financial Management Association.

"Investment dollars like to go where there are inefficiencies," said Robert Galvin, CEO, Equity Healthcare Operating Partner, The Blackstone Group. "To keep it simple, there are opportunities in cost reduction, consumerism and cutting-edge science and technology."

"This was a thought-provoking and energizing conference, particularly in regard to the different possibilities for future care models for providers," Jackie Gonzalez, senior vice president/chief nursing officer, Miami Children's Hospital, and a doctoral candidate at the UM School of Nursing, said of the event.

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