October 28, 2009
CEO George Halvorson Discusses Quality, Efficiency at The New Republic’s Health Care Reform Event
In the midst of the health care reform debate, Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO George Halvorson, joined legislators and health care leaders just steps from Capitol Hill to discuss the current reform efforts at The New Republic’s “Health Care Reform: Will it Work?” event on Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Halvorson explained the need for legislation by looking at the differences between the cost of health care in the United States and that around the world. He seemed hopeful that the United States can accomplish the goals of reform: improved quality at an affordable cost.
He said that there are two imperatives that must be accomplished, and that the two must happen together in order for reform to be successful. “We need universal coverage to fix care,” said Halvorson, “and we need to fix care so we can afford universal coverage.”
Shannon Brownlee, senior research fellow, New America Foundation, and Jon Kingsdale, executive director, Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector, also were on the panel with Halvorson discussing quality and affordability. Both applauded Kaiser Permanente’s coordinated care model and discussed how lessons learned at Kaiser Permanente could improve the system overall. Kingsdale even asked Halvorson why Kaiser Permanente hasn’t spread its system across the entire country.
Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Dennis Rivera, Service Employees International Union Healthcare chair, centered their lively debate at the event around the prospect of a government run insurance option and the idea of an insurance exchange. Each legislator on the panel agreed that the public plan will likely make it to the final legislation and that an insurance exchange could help make care more affordable, but they differed on the details of what those measures will ultimately look like.
Director of the White House Office of Health Reform, Nancy-Ann DeParle, concluded the event with a breakdown of the top seven things you might want to know about health care reform.
For more about Kaiser Permanente’s comments about health care reform, please go to www.kp.org/reform.