AHIP keynotes offer road map to health reform's future

As I mulled over the AHIP Institute's keynote speakers, my thoughts drifted to a quote that struck me as quite apropos to their proposed agendas: "Winners learn from the past and enjoy working in the present toward the future." They are all endeavoring to lay out a road map of sorts to the future of health reform for health insurance companies. Of course, no one can predict the future, but AHIP pulled together an impressive list of experts who just might come close.

Fresh off his announcement that he is running for president, Tim Pawlenty, the former two-term governor of Minnesota, opens AHIP's general session with a discussion on states' role in reforming healthcare. During his governorship, Pawlenty's healthcare reforms made price and quality more transparent for patients, which led to an overall better standard of care. He also developed MinnesotaCare, a healthcare plan for low-income individuals and families without access to employee-sponsored insurance.

Sens. Tom Daschle and Judd Gregg then take over the Institute helm to tackle "The Unfinished Agenda: Building a Sustainable Health Care System." Since leaving the Senate, Daschle authored the books Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis and Getting it Done: How Obama and Congress Finally Broke the Stalemate to Make Way for Health Care Reform. Gregg is a national leader on healthcare, as well as economic and financial regulatory issues, having worked across the aisle to improve our healthcare system. Moderated by Susan Dentzer, editor-in-chief of Health Affairs and an on-air analyst with PBS NewsHour, this session will surely be lively and informative.

Friday morning brings two economic experts from opposite ends of the political spectrum to the podium, speaking about "What the Future Holds for the Economy, Health Care, and Budget Policy." R. Glenn Hubbard, Dean of Columbia Business School and economic advisor to President George W. Bush, is a leader in economic theory and application. Laura D'Andrea Tyson, professor at Haas School of Business and economic advisor to President Bill Clinton, is a member of President Obama's economic recovery advisory board. Between Hubbard and Tyson, there are at least 40 years of experience with economic issues, so I'm sure they will offer valuable insights as to how the economy will affect healthcare in the future, or perhaps vice versa.

Political dynamos James Carville and Mary Matalin close out the AHIP Institute with their unique insights and analysis of the healthcare happenings in Washington, D.C. During their "strategy session," the husband-and-wife commentators and CNN contributors will also discuss healthcare and the 2012 elections. My hope is that they provide some behind-the-scenes scoop on the healthcare-related goings-on within the White House and Congress.

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