Delegates immersed in health care policy
Ted Lomicka | The Tennessean
Leadership Health Care (LHC), an initiative of the Nashville Health Care Council to foster the next generation of health care leaders, recently completed its 12th delegation to Washington, D.C., an annual event that gives Nashville’s emerging health care talent firsthand insight into the policy discussions and political dynamics shaping our city’s largest industry.
Last month, our group of nearly 100 delegates met with some of the country’s most respected health care leaders, including policy experts, members of Congress, administration officials, Capitol Hill staff and representatives of key health care trade organizations. This year’s in-depth discussions focused on the continued rollout of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), with a particular focus on the progress of enrolling Americans in insurance plans through health insurance exchanges, new payment and delivery models, and how the 2014 election season may impact Washington’s political landscape and the ACA’s future.
The first day of sessions featured a panel of policy experts from the American Hospital Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Ascension Health. The conversation centered on health insurance coverage expansion under the ACA, with panelists agreeing that it was the best part of the health care law, but issues such as the application of the individual mandate and the Supreme Court’s ruling granting state officials greater discretion on Medicaid expansion have made it difficult to predict the full extent of coverage for people previously uninsured.
Later that day, speakers Michael Ramlet of “The Morning Consult,” and John Harris of Politico shared insight into the current political and media climates, looking ahead to the role that health care may play in the 2014 elections, and how a possible Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate in 2014 and the 2016 presidential race may shape health care policy decisions.
On the second day, Rahul Rajkumar, M.D., senior adviser for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) innovation office, spoke to delegates about some of the new payment and service delivery models that CMS is testing across the country as it tries to lower health care costs and improve the quality of care patients receive. Delegates also met with several members of Tennessee’s congressional delegation and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Delegates left the event with an abundance of useful information they could share with colleagues and apply to their business strategies. More than that, the delegation allowed delegates to showcase Nashville’s health care expertise with Washington decision makers, both during the structured audience participation and through networking opportunities such as a breakfast with Tennessee Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander as well as Rep. Jim Cooper’s participation in the first evening’s keynote dinner.
At LHC, we believe events like the annual Washington delegation and our local educational programs are invaluable tools for keeping the Nashville health care community informed and engaged in the many aspects of this fast-moving industry. We appreciate the opportunity to work with such an intelligent and respected group of companies and individuals as we continue to solidify Nashville’s position as a health care industry capital.
Ted Lomicka is vice president and assistant treasurer of Community Health Systems and chair of the Leadership Health Care board of directors.