Aspen Institute Project Targets Broader Healthcare Stewardship

October 5, 2007  • Institute Contributor

Aspen Institute Project Targets Broader Healthcare Stewardship

Contact: Noah Bartolucci
The Aspen Institute
Tel: 202-736-2536
Cell: 202-906-0157
[email protected]

Washington, DC, October 5, 2007 — The Aspen Institute is convening a prominent group of thought leaders and health policy experts to launch a major initiative to reframe and broaden the national dialogue on healthcare reform leading up to the 2008 presidential election and beyond.

The Aspen Health Stewardship Project will expand the healthcare debate to the root causes of the nation’s broken system, not just the symptoms. The initiative will go beyond the question of how to expand coverage and will redirect efforts toward addressing the deep structural problems that plague the healthcare system. As part of this effort, a series of non-partisan tools will be created to help the public evaluate healthcare reform proposals as they are presented.

“Our objective is to drive healthcare reform toward the creation of a sustainable economic and care model that will best serve the needs of all Americans,” said Dr. Michelle McMurry, project director and director of the Institute’s Health, Biomedical Science and Society policy program. “In order for any reform effort to succeed, we need to address the cultural dynamics that perpetuate the current system. It’s time to move away from blame and to focus on what we can all do to make our country healthier.

“To help foster a greater emphasis on personal and shared responsibility in healthcare, the project will also address the roles that businesses, government and individuals must play in the stewardship of our shared health resources,” Dr. McMurry added.

The initiative launched today will be chaired by Mark Ganz, president and chief executive officer of Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield, a large nonprofit health plan serving the northwest and intermountain states.  Other members include Joseph Hogan, president and chief executive officer of GE Healthcare; Michael E. Porter, the Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at Harvard Business School; Elizabeth Teisberg, Associate Professor at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business; Dr. Robert Honigberg, chief medical officer of GE Healthcare; John Parr, co-founder of Civic Results; Franklin Raines, vice chairman of the Board of Revolution Health Group; and Craig Fuller, executive vice president of APCO Worldwide.

The roster of participants will be completed next month and is expected to consist of about 20 business and health policy leaders.

“The horizon for this initiative extends beyond the presidential election,” said Ganz, who along with Dr. McMurry conceived of the project. “Only by shifting the culture underlying our healthcare system can we make real progress toward a system that is affordable and sustainable, and delivers quality- and customer-oriented healthcare to every American.”

The group will outline the essential framework and elements of an effective healthcare reform proposal, and this is expected to be complete in early 2008. Shortly thereafter the project will invite representatives from the presidential campaigns to take part in briefings aimed at sharing the group’s conclusions.

Ganz will introduce the project on Saturday at the inaugural Aspen Health Forum in Aspen, Colorado, a gathering of more than 400 people, including Nobel Prize laureates, prominent officials from the National Institutes of Health, and other thought leaders in medical science, healthcare and health policy.

For more information on the Aspen Health Stewardship Project, contact Noah Bartolucci, communications manager of the Institute’s Health, Biomedical Science and Society program, at 202/736-2536 (office), 202/906-0157 (cell), or [email protected].

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The Aspen Institute, founded in 1950, is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue. Through seminars, policy programs, conferences and leadership development initiatives, the Institute and its international partners seek to promote nonpartisan inquiry and an appreciation for timeless values. The Institute is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Its international network includes partner Aspen Institutes in Berlin, Rome, Lyon, Tokyo, New Delhi, and Bucharest, and leadership programs in Africa, Central America and India.

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