Career Development : Calendar

San Francisco: Implementing health reform in the states

02/01/12     San Francisco, CA


Sponsored by AHCJ, Alliance for Health Reform and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

AHCJ Chapter Event

Wednesday, Feb. 1

The health care overhaul law passed by Congress in 2010 sets out national goals and requirements. But many of the key decisions implementing the law are left to the states.  

For example, states have a lot of leeway in how they set up health insurance exchanges, where individuals and small business will be able to buy coverage starting in 2014. Florida and Louisiana have said they will refuse to set up exchanges, meaning the federal government will organize exchanges in those states. Other states are planning their exchanges, even while asking courts to toss out the law entirely.  

Still other states are working to change their health care systems in ways that go beyond the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Vermont, for example, wants the Obama Administration’s approval to put in place a Canadian-style single-payer system. Oregon wants to allow public employees to enroll in Medicaid.  

What’s happening in California? How are states preparing for the law’s Medicaid (and Medi-Cal) expansion in a time of budget deficits? As they plan for reform, how are states addressing tough issues such as health care for undocumented immigrants and cutbacks in mental health services? How do states go about getting waivers from the reform law, and how many might take advantage of that option?  


Larry Levitt is senior vice president for special initiatives and senior advisor to the president at the Kaiser Family Foundation. He is also executive director of the Kaiser Initiative on Health Reform and Private Insurance. Previously, he was the organization's vice president for communications and online information and editor in chief of, the foundation's online health policy news and information service. He previously served as director of the foundation's Changing Health Care Marketplace Project. Before joining the foundation, Levitt was a senior manager with the Lewin Group, where he advised public and private sector clients on health policy and financing issues. He previously served as a senior health policy advisor to the White House and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, working on the development of President Clinton's Health Security Act and other health policy initiatives.

Kim Belshé was named senior policy adviser of the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) in the spring of 2011. In this capacity, she serves as a resource to PPIC leadership and staff as well as the broader policy community on health and social services, fiscal, governance and related reforms.  Ms. Belshé brings to PPIC a wealth of experience in leadership positions in state government. She currently serves on the five-member board of the state's new Health Benefit Exchange, a centerpiece of federal health reform which will create a new marketplace for consumers and small businesses to shop for health insurance, starting in 2014.  Recently, she was named to the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, dedicated to improving health care for low-income people. Prior to joining PPIC, Ms. Belshé was secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency throughout Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's tenure.

Marian Mulkey is director of the California Health Care Foundation’s Health Reform and Public Programs Initiative. The program works to support implementation of health reform in California and advance the effectiveness of the state’s public coverage programs. Mulkey leads the foundation’s work in analyzing legislation and informing policymakers, state and local governments, private stakeholders and the public on ways to implement the law that will improve and expand coverage. Prior to joining the foundation, she worked as an independent health policy consultant and at the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, where her responsibilities included pricing, utilization data reporting and policy development.

Victoria Colliver has been writing about health for the San Francisco Chronicle since 2001, primarily focusing on the health care industry, but more recently concentrating on policy and reform. Prior to joining the Chronicle, she worked for the San Francisco Examiner, The Oakland Tribune and the Stockton (Calif.) Record. A graduate of the University of California, Davis, Colliver received a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. She is a 2009 grant recipient from the Dennis A. Hunt Fund for Health Journalism at the USC Annenberg School of Journalism. Previously, she received an Inter-American Press Association Scholarship to Venezuela and a Fulbright Scholarship to Spain.


Ed Howard, executive vice president of the Alliance for Health Reform, a nonpartisan, nonprofit health policy group in Washington, D.C.


Wednesday, February 1, 6:45 p.m. (light food/drinks at 6 p.m.)


San Francisco Chronicle
North Beach conference room
901 Mission St., San Francisco

Check in at reception. Light refreshments will be served. This event is FREE and you don’t need to be a member of AHCJ to attend.


By 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30, to