Monday, October 19, 2015: 2:45 PM - 4:15 PM
Grand Ballroom D (Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch)

This session will provide an overview of the Affordable Care Act a long two years into implementation.  We will begin with a Congressional perspective on intent and a sense of what one of the participative architects of the legislation feels about progress.  Panelists representing hospitals, insurance plans, health care providers  and consumers will then provide their perspectives—having agreed on several key elements for discussion.  Finally, a well-regarded health services researcher will comment from what might be a less biased analytical perspective. 


John Yarmuth
U.S. House of Representatives
D-Kentucky, U.S. Representative

U.S. Representative John Yarmuth represents Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. In his fourth term, Congressman Yarmuth was appointed to the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on Budget. He served as President of the Freshman Class, as Senior Whip, and was named Legislator of the Year by the Kentucky Reading Association; "Outstanding New Member of Congress" by the Committee for Education Funding, which is the largest nonpartisan education organization in the nation; and "Best of Congress" by Working Mother Magazine and Corporate Voices for Working Families during each term in Congress. Though best known for his work in the media (Louisville Today Magazine; LEO Weekly—recipient of over 100 journalism award), Yarmuth’s diverse career prior to entering the political arena gave him a solid background in policy, business, higher education, and health care. Yarmuth previously worked on Capitol Hill as Legislative Aide for Kentucky Senator Marlow Cook from 1971 to 1974, when he moved back to his hometown of Louisville to publish Louisville Today Magazine. He went on to work as Associate Vice President of University Relations at the University of Louisville and Vice President of a local health care firm. Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Congressman Yarmuth graduated from Atherton High School, where he served as student government president. He went on to earn a degree in American Studies from Yale University.

Nancy Foster
American Hospital Association
Vice President for Quality and Patient Safety, AHA

Nancy Foster is the Vice President for Quality ad Patient Safety Policy at the American Hospital Association. In this role, she is the AHA’s point person for the Hospital Quality Alliance, which is a public-private effort to provide information to consumers on the quality of care in American hospitals. Nancy is the AHA’s representative to the National Quality Forum, serves as a member of the National Heart Attack Coordinating Council and the Healthcare Infection Control and Prevention Advisory Committee of HHS. She provides advice to hospitals and public policy makers on opportunities to improve patient safety and quality. Prior to joining the AHA, Nancy was the Coordinator for Quality Activities at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). In this role, she was the principal staff person for the Quality Interagency Coordination Task Force, which brought Federal agencies with health care responsibilities together to jointly engage in projects to improve quality and safety. She also led the development of patient safety research agenda for AHRQ and managed a portfolio of quality and safety research grants in excess of $10 million. She is a graduate of Princeton University and has completed graduate work at Chapman University and Johns Hopkins University. In 2000, she was chosen as an Excellence in Government Leadership Fellow.

Nancy Dickey, MD
Texas A&M Health Science Center
President Emeritus, Texas A&M Health Science Center; Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine; Professor, Department of Medical Humanities, College of Medicine

Nancy W. Dickey currently serves as a professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and the Department of Medical Humanities in the College of Medicine and as a professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management in the School of Rural Public Health, Texas A&M Health Science Center. She also carries the title President Emeritus of the Health Science Center having served in the role of president for over a decade prior to stepping out of administration and into teaching and policy development. Nancy Dickey assumed the role of president of the Texas A&M Health Science Center TAMHSC) and vice chancellor for health affairs for The Texas A&M University System in 2002. She served in that role until October 2012. Dickey was the first woman ever to be elected president of the American Medical Association. Before serving as AMA's president, Dickey served as chair of the association's Board of Trustees and headed the AMA's Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs. She also chaired the Texas Medical Association's Patient-Physician Advocacy Committee and is active in both the American and Texas Academy of Family Physicians. She was elected to the prestigious Institute of Medicine in 2007 and to Texas’s Women’s Hall of Fame in 2010. Dickey received her M.D. and residency training at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.

Murray Ross, PhD
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc
Vice President, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.; Director, Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy

Murray Ross is Vice President, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and leads the Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy in Oakland, California. Kaiser Permanente is the largest private integrated health care delivery system in the U.S., serving over 10 million people in eight states and Washington, D.C. The Institute seeks to shape public policy and private practice by sharing evidence and experience from Kaiser Permanente’s operations through publications, expert roundtables, and conferences. Dr. Ross speaks frequently to domestic and international audiences on a range of health care topics and serves on a number of academic and non-profit boards. His current work focuses on how American health care can make better use of new medical technologies and how public policy can support better alignment of clinical and financial decisionmaking to improve health and the quality and affordability of health care. Before joining Kaiser Permanente in 2002, Dr. Ross was a policy advisor to the U.S. Congress, first at the Congressional Budget Office and later as the executive director of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. Dr. Ross earned his doctorate in economics from the University of Maryland, College Park, and completed his undergraduate work in economics at Arizona State University.

Jeffrey Harman, PhD
Florida State University, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine

Jeffrey Harman, PhD, a health economist, is a Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine at the Florida State University College of Medicine. He received his Ph.D. in Health Services Research, Policy and Administration from the University of Minnesota. His research explores utilization and expenditures of health services, with an emphasis on the impact of health policies on services for vulnerable populations, such as individuals covered by Medicaid or suffering from mental illness. Dr. Harman is an expert on analysis of large secondary datasets, such as medical claims data, large national health surveys, and other administrative data. He has particular expertise in methodological techniques for analyzing large observational datasets. In the past five years, Harman’s research examining these issues have been funded by such agencies as the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, and private industry. Dr. Harman’s research has resulted in over 75 peer-reviewed scientific articles. He has been a grant reviewer for such organizations as the National Institutes for Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and serves as a reviewer for over 20 journals, having been designated an Exceptional Reviewer on multiple occasions.

Betsy Imholz
Consumers Union
Special Projects Director

Elizabeth (Betsy) Imholz is Special Projects Director of Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports. Ms. Imholz, an attorney and recognized expert on health policy and consumer protection, is based in San Francisco and leads CU’s health reform implementation efforts in California. She also provides leadership on federal reform efforts and multi-state health projects.


Craig Blakely, PhD, MPH
University of Louisville
Professor and Dean

Craig H. Blakely, Ph.D., M.P.H., is currently the Dean of the School of Public Health and Information Sciences at the University of Louisville. His work has targeted maternal, high risk youth and other disadvantaged populations. His publications include: A Pound of Prevention: The Case for Universal Maternity Care in the U.S. published by the American Public Health Association, that stemmed from work that led to legislative change in one state to make prenatal care a right of citizenship. Craig has served on numerous review panels and regularly reviews papers for a number of journals, including the Journal of Primary Prevention and the American Journal of Public Health. Among others, he sits on the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness Board, the National Board of Public Health Examiners, the Board of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health, the Defense Health Board and the International Advisory Board for the Nigerian Centers for Disease Control. Dr. Blakely obtained is bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois, his PhD from Michigan State, and his MPH from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.