WMU-Cooley Law School and WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine hosted some of Michigan’s top healthcare experts to discuss improving healthcare in today’s conflicted political and social climate during a panel discussion on Oct. 25 in Kalamazoo.
Panelists who participated in “For All Americans? The Future of Healthcare in America” included Bart Stupak, former U.S. congressman; Lisa DeMoss, professor and director of LL.M. in insurance law, WMU-Cooley Law School; James B. Falahee Jr., senior vice president for legal and legislative affairs, Bronson Healthcare Group; and Tyler Gibb, co-chief and assistant professor of the Program in Medical Ethics, Humanities and Law, WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine. Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Jane Markey moderated the session.
Stupak who recently authored “For All Americans: The Dramatic Story Behind the Stupak Amendment and the Historic Passage of Obamacare,” provided the keynote to an audience of nearly 200.
He started off by saying he believes “healthcare is a right for all Americans and not a privilege for those few people who can afford it.”
Stupak gave a brief history about healthcare in the U.S. He said in 1912, then-President Teddy Roosevelt advocated for healthcare for low-income workers and noted, that by the 1930s, Franklin Roosevelt, during the Great Depression, called for healthcare for all Americans.
“FDR’s plan included a publicly funded healthcare program in his Social Security legislation, but because of political opposition, the healthcare program was stripped out to salvage the Social Security program,” said Stupak.
Continuing the conversation regarding health insurance in today’s environment, DeMoss told the audience that it is complicated to talk about everything connected to healthcare and healthcare reform under the Affordable Care Act.
“We are talking about multiple markets involving different products sold in different states, each of which has a different regulatory environment,” said DeMoss “It is hard to universally characterize what the state of healthcare is today across the market, but we are a market characterized by uncertainty.”
Falahee explained how Kalamazoo’s Bronson Hospital is dealing with the uncertainty. “What’s going on in Washington, or Lansing, or any other state capital really has no impact and should have no impact on the bedside care,” said Falahee. “Hospitals should care about right care, right place, right time, quality, access and cost.”
Gibb said the healthcare debate focuses on the patient’s experience, but the public should hear more about the needs of the provider.
“We tell physicians from day one, when they put on that white coat, they have promised something to society. We expect physicians to be competent, educated and compassionate while delivering the right kind of care at the right time,” said Gibb. “We often forget what our obligations to healthcare providers are. We promise them a functioning system, and right now our healthcare system is not functioning to the benefit of our healthcare providers.”
Panelists who participated in “For All Americans? The Future of Healthcare in America” at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine on Oct. 25 included (left-right) Lisa DeMoss, professor and director of LL.M. in insurance law, WMU-Cooley Law School; James B. Falahee Jr., senior vice president for legal and legislative affairs, Bronson Healthcare Group; Hon. Jane Markey, Michigan Court of Appeals; Bart Stupak, former U.S. Congressman; and Tyler Gibb, co-chief and assistant professor of the Program in Medical Ethics, Humanities and Law, WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine. The event was a collaboration between the medical school and WMU-Cooley Law School.