Business, government and health industry leaders will gather in Boston today joining a dozen cities across the nation in hosting simultaneous town hall meetings to discuss health care reform and the issues of greatest priority for President-elect Obama’s administration. Proposals to Policy: a National Conversation on Health Care Reform is a unique effort that draws together local leaders in a town hall setting to debate and determine the main concerns facing health care reform in Massachusetts and how those concerns can translate to change at the national level.

Children’s Hospital Boston is working with the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), to foster a dialogue about health reform that will address the trio of issues of access, quality and affordability of health care. NACHRI and Children’s Hospital Boston are particularly focused on improving health coverage provided by Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

«Children’s hospitals are the backbone of the pediatric health care infrastructure,» said James Mandell, MD, chief executive officer at Children’s Hospital Boston. «In addition to providing top quality care, children’s hospitals work to protect the health needs of all children. To do this we must make children’s needs a health care reform priority and advocate with the incoming administration as it sets priorities for its first term.»

Proposals to Policy, held at Children’s Hospital Boston, will begin with a live broadcast of a national level town hall meeting conducted at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Immediately following the conclusion of the live broadcast, Boston’s own town hall panel discussion will cover specific implications of health care reform for the city and Massachusetts.

«We are faced with a unique and historical opportunity to rise to the challenge of protecting the health of our nation’s citizens – particularly children, the most vulnerable among us,» said NACHRI President and CEO Lawrence McAndrews. «Just as leaders of the 1930s created social programs that simultaneously helped protect Americans and contributed to rebuilding our economy, we must recognize that today we have a similar opportunity to strengthen our health care system and build on lessons of the past.»

Children’s hospitals, led by NACHRI’s public policy affiliate the National Association of Children’s Hospitals (NACH), spent the past year creating a set of nine principles for children’s coverage in health care reform. Children’s hospitals will introduce these principles to state legislators following the town hall meetings.

«The likelihood that major changes to the American health care system will be enacted under the new president have increased not only because the current system is broken and needs fixing but because the President-elect has promised to do something about it,» said David Chin, MD, MBA, partner in the Health Industries Advisory Practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers. «It is true that for every action there is a reaction and we need to start thinking today about how major reforms will affect the health, wealth and well being of Massachusetts residents, businesses, hospitals, physicians, and insurers – and the sustainability of our local health system.»

PricewaterhouseCoopers recently presented a new report titled Healthcare policy in an Obama administration: Delivering on the promise of universal coverage, which looks comprehensively at the implications of the new administration’s health reform proposals.

Leading the Boston discussion of the impact of health care reform are:

  • David Chin, MD, MBA, partner, Health Industries Advisory Practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Andrew Dreyfus, executive vice president, Health Care Services, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusett

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