Pictured: Molly Smith, center.

Building upon and improving the current system in order to increase access to health coverage is a better way forward than a Medicare for All alternative, panelists said Nov. 17 at U.S. News & World Report's Healthcare of Tomorrow conference in Washington, D.C.
 
"I don't see Medicare for All being a political reality anytime in the future,” said former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who is now CEO of the Daschle Group, a strategic advisory firm.
 
Molly Smith, AHA vice president of coverage and state issues, talked about strengthening efforts at the state level, as well as existing public-private partnerships, to improve access to coverage and comprehensive health benefits. Among other areas, AHA supports: continued efforts to expand Medicaid in non-expansion states; strengthening the marketplaces to improve their stability and the affordability of coverage; and robust enrollment efforts.
 
Smith also criticized the administration’s Nov. 15 final rule mandating the public disclosure of privately-negotiated rates between commercial health insurance companies and hospitals; and talked about the importance of addressing social determinants of health in improving health outcomes.
 
“We have achieved consensus about the role of social factors in driving health outcomes, but have not yet figured out exactly how to do this — which interventions, who pays, who organizes everyone in a community, how do we ensure equity.”
 
During a separate session yesterday at the conference, AHA board member Wright Lassiter III, president and CEO of Henry Ford Health System, participated on a panel with health care leaders focused on taking bold steps to improve the quality, efficiency and cost of care delivery. Also on the panel were Farzad Mostashari, M.D., CEO of Aledade; Ninfa Saunders, president and CEO of Navicent Health; and Martin VanTrieste, president and CEO of Civica Rx.
 
Watch for more coverage tomorrow from the conference.

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