Continuing in the transparent tradition of the White House Forum on Health Reform
and the Regional Forums
that followed, watch another discussion with key stakeholders streamed at WhiteHouse.gov/live
. It will be a diverse group of stakeholders, from businesspeople to insurers to health professionals, sharing their views with Counselor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Health Reform Nancy-Ann DeParle. Rebecca Adelman of HHS live-blogs the event below:
12:20: Nancy-Ann DeParle, who has spent the entire meeting listening to the diverse constituencies gathered at the White House, closes the meeting and urges all present to stay involved and stay in touch. She says, "we will need all of you" as the health reform details are fleshed out in the coming days.
11:58: Trevor Fetter from Tenet highlights the problems many insured Americans have when they need treatment in hospitals, but don't understand their insurance plans well enough to know of the financial burdens they may take on from their hospital stays. He says we often talk about the uninsured, but we can't forget about those who are insured but who still struggle to afford their medical treatment.
11:40: Brook Lehmann with Family Voices is speaking about health care for children. She makes the point that the CHIP law is a phenomenal achievement, but it doesn't stop there. She is concerned that if children don't have adequate access to care, then the insurance card is meaningless. She suggests that underserved children are best reached at their schools.
11:25: The meeting is tackling complicated issues at an impressive clip. Several participants have brought up the importance of educating patients about their choices for end of life care. Hospice care is being cited frequently as an option that would help reduce costs for the government and for families.
11:07: Dr. Susan Kelly, President of Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science, is giving a passionate presentation about the state of the health care system in southern Los Angeles. She notes that for over 1.5 million people there is one hospital, and that the average person in southern LA spends under a dollar each year on health care because so few people receive treatment. She is urging that the health reform conversation speak to the shortage of affordable care in communities like these.
10:53: There is a consensus at the meeting that we need to find ways to prevent illness before people even step into a health clinic. Ken Thorpe from the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease says the case for health reform is obvious. He says we need to redesign the delivery model for the treatment of chronic disease and implement innovative prevention programs for schools and communities.
10:33: Electronic medical records are a hot topic at the meeting as a way to reduce costs. One participant says that a lot of America does not understand what "wiring" health care means. Dr. Mayer with the Society of Thoracic Surgeons says there is a big appetite for this to be developed in a way that is best for the patient. He points to his pen and says, this instrument still controls much of what we do in medicine, and we can do better.
10:23: Now the participants are going around the table to introduce themselves. It's a diverse crowd with a lot of valuable insights on this complicated issue. Nancy-Ann first calls on two small business owners who both are struggling to pay the health care premiums for their employees, some of whom have chronic illnesses that require expensive treatment. They both say that the costs are unsustainable for their businesses.
10:14: Nancy-Ann DeParle opens the meeting by citing the President's promise at his Congressional Address in February - that health reform cannot wait, must not wait, will not wait another year. She says she wants to discuss the President's principles for the health reform plan, and hear how the leaders around the table agree or disagree with the ideas he has laid out.
10:02: Nearly 30 key stakeholders in the health reform effort are gathering around a large table on the third floor of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. White House Office of Health Reform Director Nancy-Ann DeParle is going to arrive any minute and will facilitate a conversation with the group of insurance industry executives, business leaders, health professionals and advocates about the reform effort.