Expert keynote speakers tackle healthcare's future

In the long and varied list of keynote speakers at this year's America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) Institute is an impressive range of experienced perspectives. They are sure to provide new insights to the changing landscape in which payers are operating.

Health Net CEO Jay Gellert and WellPoint Chief Medical Officer Sam Nussbaum take to the podium Thursday discussing "The Role of Health Plans in Creating a 21st Century Health Care System: A Vision for the Future." Between these two insurance execs, there's more than 40 years of healthcare experience with some wise opinions of how payers can improve the healthcare system as we currently know it, including the continuing move toward a consumer-oriented industry.

"It's more important than ever that we deliver a great consumer healthcare experience," Nussbaum told FierceHealthPayer. "That means taking a more active role in healthcare delivery--getting closer to the delivery system--but it also means rethinking traditional models."


"It's more important than ever that we deliver a great consumer healthcare experience"

--Sam Nussbaum, WellPoint chief medical officer


Politics takes center stage Thursday afternoon when CNN political analysts Paul Begala and Ari Fleischer tackle "Politics, Public Perception, and Health Reform: Implications for the 2012 Elections." Begala previously served as counselor to President Bill Clinton and has authored several books, including Is Our Children Learning? The Case Against George W. Bush and Buck Up, Suck Up, and Come Back When You Foul Up. During his tenure as press secretary for George W. Bush, Fleischer dealt with the presidential recount, September 11, two wars and the anthrax attack. This session promises to be dynamic, informative and maybe just a little adversarial.

To talk about health and well-being, AHIP turns to none other than Deepak Chopra, one of the most prominent experts in holistic health and mind-body medicine. The author of more than 64 books, founder of The Chopra Foundation and cofounder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, Chopra has almost single-handedly transformed how the world views whole health, including physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social wellness. Look forward to hearing his thoughts on payers' ability to bring health and well-being to the forefront of our national dialogue.

Want to learn more about building a sustainable healthcare delivery system? Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink and The Tipping Point, will take the Institute helm with Harvard Medical School Professor Atul Gawande on Friday morning. Named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People, Gladwell has written books that help organizations understand how trends work and has interpreted ideas in the social sciences to make them practical and valuable to businesses. Gawande, a surgeon, speaker and author, believes in incremental reforms that build on strengths and limitations of the current healthcare system. These two experts should provide an enlightening and forward-thinking discussion.