Directors Corner | September 2021 | CBGH’s 2021 Annual Forum

Given limits to significant federal action, meaningful action to control spending growth is likely to occur at the state level.”

from Reducing Health Care Spending: What tools can states leverage?
Chernow, Cutler, and Shaw;  March 2021, The Commonwealth Fund

State Led Health Reform: Shared Strategies and Lessons

Back in early 2020, when we first began planning for our now thrice-delayed 2021 Annual Forum, we looked around the country to see what was happening at either the Federal level or the State level.

What progress was being made to make healthcare more affordable?  More reliable?  Where could we turn for lessons that we could apply here in Colorado – and, in particular, what strategies could help employers move from being passive payers who basically write checks to proactive purchasers exercising due diligence and fiduciary responsibility?

The conclusion we arrived at then was exactly the same conclusion that Michael Chernow and colleagues wrote about in the article quoted above:  We probably should focus more on what other states have tried – both unsuccessfully and as well as successfully – and less on what the Feds are (or are not) doing.  Thus, we agreed, let’s build our program with speakers from other States make our theme “shared strategies and lessons.”   Afterall, the first rule of continuous quality improvement, I was taught years ago, is “steal shamelessly.”

On September 28th and September 29th we will be bringing together (virtually) speakers from across the country so that those of us here in Colorado can learn from their experiences.   Our program will feature:

  • Colorado’s Insurance Commission Michael Conway who will provide our keynote address on how Colorado intends to lead health reform.
  • Two nationwide perspectives on what is happening at the State level – from both The Commonwealth Fund and from the National Academy for State Health Policy.
  • Leaders with various experiences in health reform from California, Connecticut, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, and Colorado.
  • The CEOs of Colorado’s major health plans in a panel moderated Executive Director Kim Bimestefer from the Colorado Department of Healthcare Policy and Finance.

I continue to maintain not only that States must lead the way in health reform but that Colorado is the very best positioned State in the country to do.  That doesn’t mean, however, that we cannot or should not learn from what others have done.

Please plan to join us on the afternoon of September 28th and the morning of September 29.  We’re sure you’ll hear numerous takeaways from around the country.  You can see the program and register here.