Conference Attendees Forge New Paths in Health Care Policy as Significant Possibility for Sweeping Reform Looms

September 13, 2019

CHROs and HR Policy staff explored the present health care landscape and unveiled a revitalized American Health Policy Institute aimed toward answering the pressing health care questions challenging large employers going forward, with a special announcement that Chuck Columbus, formerly Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Kaiser Permanente, will take the helm of the Institute as CEO.

“This is an issue that’s deeply close to my heart, having spent 10 years at Kaiser Permanente," Columbus said.  "And health care is extremely important to our employees and our companies.  We are at an inflection point—a confusing inflection point.  But we have a great foundation built by Shelly Carlin and the HR Policy team.  And we are going to build on that foundation to help CHROs continue to lead in the health care space, both in policy and in their companies.”

Next Era's Deb Caplan discussed the changes made to gear AHPI for the challenges ahead.  “The Institute will closely align groundbreaking research and CHRO education with advocacy in the policy space.  All of our success is built on a staff who are deeply experienced, and who will continue to ensure that the Institute is strongly impactful.”

Eastman's Perry Stuckey gave his perspective on health care challenges facing CHROs.  In addition to outlining how his company makes strategic decisions regarding health care, Stuckey poignantly pointed out the initiatives Eastman is undertaking to serve workers and communities struck by the opioid and obesity epidemics.  “The questions we ask ourselves are how do we give back to the community—and how do we create a healthy workforce for the future?” Stuckey said.  “For me, this is personal.”

Brian Marcotte, President and CEO of the National Business Group on Health, discussed survey results from his members on a number of possible health care reform options, noting especially that his members felt that in a Medicare for All scenario costs would go up, health care quality would go down, and taxes would go up.  He especially emphasized the need for the business community to come to a unified position as these possible drastic changes are on the horizon.  Marcotte is working closely with AHPI Executive Vice President Colleen McHugh to ensure alignment between CHROs and their total rewards teams as the difficult policy issues progress.

The panel discussed the value of greater cooperation in the C-suite as health care reform ramps up, both between the CHRO and senior benefits lead and between the CHRO and CFO and their teams.  In addition to policy, this will be an area of focus for the Institute going forward.

Moderator Tim Bartl, President of HR Policy, and Mark Wilson, President of AHPI, gave their analyses on the possible outcomes for health care reform after the 2020 elections, ranging from repeal and replace of the Affordable Care Act to a Medicare for All type law.