On Monday, Universal Health Care Foundation (UHCF), and our parent organization, CHART, held our inaugural forum in our Reform to Transform series, “Drowning in Health Care Costs: All Hands on Deck.” Hosted by Quinnipiac University at their Center for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences in North Haven, the program featured a lively debate among three panelists – prominent journalist Steven Brill, Griffin Hospital CEO, Patrick Charmel and State Comptroller Kevin Lembo – and was moderated by columnist Susan Campbell. An audience of close to 250 people contributed to the conversation by asking thought-provoking questions of the panel.
The forum was a resounding success. It was in keeping with our joint mission to serve as a catalyst that engages residents and communities in shaping a health system that provides universal access to quality, affordable health care and promotes health in Connecticut. To achieve that aim, we are committed to promoting systemic change that gets at root causes and promotes solutions that work for all residents.
We believe the Affordable Care Act (ACA) offers Connecticut a historic opportunity. It provides a great chance to improve access through enrolling most of the uninsured residents in health plans through Access Health CT and in Medicaid. But it also offers significant funding to spur innovation in the delivery and financing of health care as well as in improving the health of communities in our state.
New ideas, innovation and bold leadership will be necessary to take full advantage of the new opportunities the ACA has to offer. Consumers will need to become more engaged in their health care at both the personal and policy levels. Creating opportunities for meaningful dialogue and robust public discussions among consumers as well as key stakeholders is an important step toward building the kind of involvement that leads to action.
The United States health care system faces many challenges. We know that our country spends more per capita on health care than any other country in the world and that we have worse health outcomes than many other nations. We know we could be getting much more value for our health care dollars. But change is hard, particularly when it means major shifts in the health care landscape and threatens the status quo.
The foundation’s Reform to Transform initiative is about focusing attention on building a high performing health care system that meets the needs of all people and is sustainable over the long haul. We look forward to keeping the discussion going.
Our next forum will be held in March. Meanwhile, help us continue the conversation by commenting on our blog, liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and working with us to help Connecticut move from Reform to Transform.