Sunday, February 14, 2010

Academy Health Annual Policy Meeting

Despite a record snowfall, the Academy Health Annual Policy Meeting this past week in Washington DC was chock full of news about prospects for real reform of the health system, new payment schemes, and states that are making progress. The Secretary of HHS made it pretty clear that the Administration still will fight for some aspects of reform but the Democrats appear weak and disorganized from my perspective. Experts from the Brookings Institute and elsewhere noted that real reform means changing the pernicious payment system and that means changing Medicare. Well, we don't even have a Medicare Administrator so CMS is not going to be the wellspring for lots of change---unless the widespread demonstration projects get real traction but nothing is going to happen here until at least 2011. Finally, The Governor of Wisconsin gave a compelling luncheon address about BadgerCare---using the principals of Population Health(even quoting David Kindig multiple times!!), he noted that it can be done---you can cover the uninsured, you can practice based upon the evidence and you can get good outcomes that we can all afford. He got a rousing round of applause so it leaves me with hope for the future. Speaking of HOPE and CHANGE....hope you let us know how you feel about the stalled reform in Washington and what can we do to re-start the conversation in a more serious tone...Thanks, DAVID NASH