WASHINGTON- The 2010 National Governors Association (NGA) Winter Meeting began today with a robust opening plenary session highlighting the role states can play in improving health care delivery systems to provide cost-efficient and effective health care to all Americans. The session also showcased NGA Chair Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas’ initiative Rx for Health Reform: Affordable, Accessible, Accountable.
“Health care reform is happening in the states and governors are leading the way. Reforms that make our delivery systems more efficient, reduce duplicative services and reward the quality of care delivered – not amount of care provided – are critical to our nation’s fiscal and economic future,” said Gov. Douglas. “I’ve launched Rx for Health Reform: Affordable, Accessible, Accountable, to enlist the help of all governors to find solutions to the health care problem in this country, and provide quality preventative and wellness services that make our nation healthy as well as appropriate and cost-effective care for those who are sick.”
“States cannot afford to sustain our existing level of health care spending,” added NGA Vice Chair West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III. “Governors recognize that it is a critical priority in ensuring the economic viability of our states and the quality of life for our citizens that we work tirelessly to address the current healthcare delivery challenges states are facing.”
During the plenary session, First Lady Michelle Obama provided an overview of her newly launched anti-obesity initiative to make improvements in child care settings, schools and communities to prevent obesity.
Atul Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and associate professor at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, offered his perspective on the major challenges and opportunities for delivery system reform, focusing on improving the quality of health care through payment reforms.
Finally, Jack Cochran, executive director of the Permanente Foundation, a 14,000-strong physician group, shared his perspective on working with the provider community on health care reform efforts.
Rx for Health Reform: Affordable, Accessible, Accountable will continue to be a primary topic of governors’ discussions over the course of the three-day NGA Winter Meeting. To learn more about this Initiative, visit www.nga.org/ci.
Sara Payne Scarbro