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Laying the Foundation for a Constructive Discussion of Healthcare in 2019

I recently had the pleasure of kicking off the Rockefeller Institute of Government’s Public Policy Address Series in Albany with a presentation on “Laying the Foundation for a Constructive Discussion of Healthcare in 2019.”

My presentation covered healthcare reform and offered a roadmap for engaging in fact-based dialogue with stakeholders about reaching shared goals—including healthcare affordability and improved population health.

The debate over a single payer system is likely to dominate healthcare policy discussions in Albany in 2019. The discussion must be broadened beyond a simple yes/no question of whether to publicly finance healthcare in New York.

When considering single payer in New York, it makes sense to take a look at what other states have done. I discussed my experience as President of the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems during that state’s failed effort to implement single payer. While New York is a much larger state, I believe the lessons learned in Vermont may apply here as well.

Since every journey has a starting point, I highlighted the progress New York State has made in improving care and bending the cost curve, while pointing out the larger macro forces—such as an aging population and chronic disease—that will continue to drive healthcare spending growth. I also described how new technologies and disruptive new entrants into the healthcare space are beginning to impact how care is delivered.

In the coming year, as we engage in healthcare policy deliberations, including single payer, we must be sure that we explore the impact on affordability, access, coverage, and quality. We must support innovation and technology and ensure we have the trained workforce needed for the future, not just in traditional healthcare settings, but in home care and other settings as well. I stressed that as our population ages, any discussion of major reform such as single payer must include long-term care.

I thank the Rockefeller Institute for this opportunity to engage in a dialogue on the important healthcare reform issues that are on the horizon.