The Chicago Forum for Justice in Health Policy: Health Reform Impacts, Challenges, and the Future - Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

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The Chicago Forum for Justice in Health Policy: Health Reform Impacts, Challenges, and the Future

Oct 31, 2019

This forum shared updates and responses on Health & Medicine Policy Research Group’s latest research about health reform’s impacts, its unintended consequences, and its unfinished work—with an eye to the future. The event included a summary of initial research findings, response from health system organizations’ perspectives, Illinois State government perspectives, and health advocates activities and plans for the future.

Health reform often seems like a moving target. Some years, advocates and providers work with government to implement major changes to the health safety net, such as Medicaid expansion and marketplace rollout under the ACA. But a change in administrations can lead to pull-back from reform efforts and outright political assaults on healthcare access and health laws, like the ACA.

Many patients still struggle to access high-quality, affordable healthcare and hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans remain uninsured. Communities and advocates continue to fight both for reforms and against attacks on health reform. Healthcare and social service providers and organizations are often challenged to respond to health reform implementation while engaging with new programs, policies, and initiatives. While the 2020 election heats up, the future of healthcare and health insurance remains a major debate. Meanwhile, the US’s ongoing legacy of injustice both causes and exacerbates health inequities and violations of human rights.

The forum included a few panels to discuss health reform from the perspective of: state government; providers and other safety net organizations; and health advocates.

Panelist/Respondent list:

Moderator: Graciela Guzman, Campaign Director, Healthy Illinois

Presenter: Wesley Epplin, Director of Health Equity, Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

Response Panel 1 – State Government Perspective:

  • Ramon Gardenhire, Deputy Chief of Staff of Policy, Illinois Governor’s Office
  • Corey-Anne Gulkewicz, Special Assistant to the  Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services

Response Panel 2 – Provider and Insurer Perspective:

  • Jay Shannon, MD, CEO, Cook County Health
  • Stephanie Cox-Batson, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Near North Health Center
  • Heather O’Donnell, Senior Vice President of Public Policy & Advocacy, Thresholds
  • Steven Glass, Vice President of Value Based Care, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois

Response Panel 3 –  Health Advocates:

    • Nadeen Israel, Vice President, Policy & Advocacy, AIDS Foundation of Chicago
    • Stephanie Altman, Director of Healthcare Justice and Senior Director of Policy, Shriver Center on Poverty Law
    • Dan Rabbitt, Senior Project Manager, Health Policy Heartland Alliance

Health & Medicine would like to thank the Washington Square Health Foundation for their support of this forum.  Also, thank you to our co-sponsors, Loyola University’s Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy and the Civitas ChildLaw Center.