WUSTL to host public forum on Medicaid financing, June 8

Tommy Thompson, former HHS secretary, to be among speakers

Rising healthcare costs and diminishing health insurance coverage will be among critical issues debated by leading medical policy experts as Washington University hosts a daylong public forum on Medicaid financing June 8 in the School of Medicine’s Eric P. Newman Education Center, 320 Euclid Ave.

Among the speakers will be Tommy Thompson, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination; as well as administrators from a half dozen major research hospitals and a range of academic, government and think-tank policy experts.

“This is a major conference addressing Medicaid, the principal federal and state program for financing health care for the poor, including children, at a crucial time in its history,” says program co-organizer William A. Peck, M.D., the Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Distinguished Professor of Medicine and director of the Center for Health Policy.

“Concerns about quality, high and rising costs, accessibility, capacity and scope of coverage, have placed Medicaid at the forefront of the U.S. health care agenda.”

Titled “Medicaid Financing: Challenges for Missouri and the Nation,” the conference is free and open to the public; seating is limited and registration is required. The event is hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the Missouri Foundation for Health, the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government and Public Policy in Arts & Sciences, and the Center for Health Policy in the School of Medicine.

The conference begins at 7:30 a.m. with a continental breakfast and registration and closes with a reception from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. More information on the conference, including a full agenda, background on speakers and details on registration, are available on the Weidenbaum Center Web site: http://wc.wustl.edu. For more information, contact Melinda Warren at 935-5652 or warren@wustl.edu.

Thompson, a former Wisconsin governor, will discuss “Medicaid in the United States” at 8:30 a.m. Thompson has called for reforms in the U.S. Medicaid and Medicare systems. In recent news coverage, Thompson is quoted as suggesting that “only the federal government is capable and large enough to handle the aging population” and that it’s time to “start the debate over requiring long-term health care in America.”

The program includes panel discussions by distinguished contributors on:

“Financing Medicaid: Reforms, The Federal-State Relationship” featuring John Holahan of the Urban Institute and James A. Fossett of the Rockefeller Institute; moderated by Paul Rothstein, Ph.D., associate professor of economics in Arts & Sciences.

“Medicaid and Health Care Providers” featuring John Bluford of Truman Medical Centers, Georgeann Freeman of Dade County Medical Center, Ray Magers of Putnam County Memorial Hospital and F. Sessions Cole, M.D., assistant vice chancellor for children’s health at the School of Medicine and director of the Division of Pediatric Newborn Medicine and chief medical officer at St. Louis Children’s Hospital; moderated by William A. Peck.

“Free Market versus Public Provision of Health Care” featuring Len Nichols of the New America Foundation and Thomas Stratmann of George Mason University; moderated by Thomas A. Garrett of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

“The Future of Medicaid” featuring George Oestreich of the Missouri Department of Medical Services and Debbie Chase of the University’s Center for Health Policy; moderated by James Kimmey of the Missouri Foundation for Health.