#AHCJ17 panel to explore what’s next for health reform

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org. Follow her on Facebook.

For those of us who cover health policy nationally or in our states and local communities, it has been a dizzying couple of months.

The “Day 1” slam dunk repeal that President Donald J. Trump and the Republicans who control the House and the Senate promised turned into a prolonged and uncertain mélange of repeal, replace, repair, implode, explode – not to mention beg, negotiate, threaten and wheedle.Heading into AHCJ’s Health Journalism 2017 on April 20-23 in Orlando, the House bill is neither completely dead – nor is it really alive (#Zombiecare!). Nor is the health of the exchange marketplaces assured for 2018. The battle over whether the administration will continue the Affordable Care Act’s cost-sharing subsidies may get settled (one way or another) shortly after we leave Orlando, as Congress attempts to negotiate a spending bill for the remainder of the fiscal year to avoid a government shut-down.

During one #AHCJ17 panel “Health Care Reform Under a New Administration,” which begins at 10:40 a.m. on Friday, April 21, we’ll discuss the future of health reform in all its glorious murkiness. The Department of Health and Human Services declined several invitations to send a representative, but we’ll have three experts with different perspectives and deep experience in setting and evaluating health policy in previous administrations.

Mark McClellan, M.D.

Mark McClellan served as commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and as administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for President George W. Bush (I believe he’s the only person to have held both those posts). McClellan also was on the Council of Economic Advisers in the Clinton White House. Many of you know him as a leading academic and research voice, both while he was at the Brookings Institute and now as director of the Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke University.

Doug Badger

Also on the panel will be Doug Badger, who served in the White House under George W. Bush, and at HHS and on Capitol Hill. Badger has lobbied on health care issues and worked for Senate Republicans such as then-Sen. Don Nickles, a conservative Republican from Oklahoma. Badger is semi-retired but does some work with the Galen Institute and still writes (and thinks) about health care. He will do his best to help us understand conservative goals and priorities.

Karen Pollitz

Rounding out the panel will be Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington, D.C. Pollitz specializes in health reform and private insurance. A particular interest for her is patient/consumer protection. She did two stints at HHS, first during the Clinton administration and again during the Obama administration.

We usually include some overview background articles in these blog posts, but you are all steeped in repeal policy and politics right now – and whatever we share likely will be obsolete in five minutes. Instead, email me links to articles, television and radio pieces that you like which report on policy options your state and local communities are considering if the ACA is repealed/replaced/imploded – or steps states are taking to shore up the system in the absence of federal action.

Alaska, for example, already has set up a reinsurance program, according to this piece from Andrew Kitchenman at Alaska Public Media, and another story from Tim Jost at the Health Affairs blog. Minnesota recently set up its version, says David Montgomery of the Pioneer Press in this article. If I hear from enough of you, we’ll do follow-up post looking at state solutions.

Attendees and those following along can use the hashtags #AHCJ17 and #AHCJreform. If you haven’t yet registered for the conference, on-site registration will be available. Fill out the registration form and bring it with you.

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