Friday, March 20, 2009

Health Care Reform Symposium at Susquehanna

In a News Release issued March 9, 2009, Susquehanna University, in Selinsgrove, PA, announced that "National and regional experts will debate merits of universal coverage" during a symposium to be held on campus on Wednesday, March 25th & Thursday, March 26th, 2009.

A panel of respected health policy experts — including lawmakers, a best-selling author and a foundation executive — will meet at Susquehanna University this month to discuss health care reform, a signature issue of the Obama administration.

Author Jonathan Cohn; Pennsylvania state Sen. Ted Hughes; Cara James, director of the Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholars Program at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation; and Cybele Bjorklund, of the health subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means, are just four of 15 experts who will weigh in on the issue of universal health care coverage at a symposium March 25 and 26 at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa.

Sponsored by the Arlin M. Adams Center for Law and Society, the symposium is a unique opportunity for audiences to hear from all sides: medical, socio-economic, legislative and business, with perspectives from consumers, practitioners, insurers and policy makers. * * *

Click here for a complete schedule and list of panelists.

These are the "highlights" of the two-day event, according to the News Release:

  • On March 25 at 7:30 p.m., the keynote presentation by Jonathan Cohn, author of “Sick: The Untold Story of America's Health Care Crisis--and the People Who Pay the Price.” The talk will take place at the Degenstein Center Theater.
  • On March 26, 9:45 a.m. to 4 p.m., panel discussions with participants from national and state government, insurance companies, health care practices, public health enterprises and educational institutions. All panel discussions will be held at Stretansky Concert Hall.
  • Also on March 26, at 7 p.m., a concluding dialogue presenting both sides of the issue, for and against universal health care coverage, at the Degenstein Center Theater.
  • Panel discussions include The Role of Government, Employers and Insurers in Health Care, at 9:45 a.m.; Balancing Affordability and Comprehensive Coverage, at 12:30 p.m.; and Barriers to Reforming the Health Care System, at 2:30 p.m.
As recently as last night, President Obama emphasized during town hall meetings that reforming the national health care system is a priority national issue; and so this symposium is timely, as noted in the News Release:
“President Obama announced last week to a joint session of Congress that the most important issues facing the nation are energy, education and health care,” said Allen Sobel, director of the Adams Center.

“This symposium could not be more timely or on a more important topic. Those who attend will walk away better able to make informed decisions about whether our health care system can be saved and, if so, what needs to be done to save it.”

About 45 million Americans are without health insurance, according to the Congressional Budget Office, which estimates that, without policy changes, the number will rise to about 54 million in 2019. Rising unemployment rates will only accelerate the problem.

“The expense of sudden illness cannot be postponed like the purchase of a new car or clothes,” Sobel said. “Consequently, millions of American constantly face looming financial disaster.”
Personally, I am pleased that an issue of such importance will be debated at Susquehanna University, in Central Pennsylvania.

The symposium is free and open to the public.