Dean's Blog - Health Care

Dean's Blog - Health Care

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Dean Donald Lewis


Available in both video and text format for your convenience


Hello again.  Today, I want to talk about health care, and an important program this week hosted by our Health Law Institute.

Minnesota has long been a progressive state when it comes to health care.  It is a leader because Minnesota employers provide health insurance at a rate 10 percent above the national average.  It is a leader because Minnesota is home to nationally-renowned health care providers like the Mayo Clinic, and to pioneers in the medical device industry.  Long ago, Minnesota led the way with HMOs, and health care in this state is still provided largely by non-profit clinics and hospitals.  And over the decades, bipartisan efforts in Minnesota have led to insurance reform and broad coverage for working families.

So it should be no surprise that our national Congress has looked to Minnesota's experience as it struggles with health care reform.  A now famous article in The New Yorker magazine by surgeon Atul Gawande documented the out-of-control health care costs in McAllen, Texas, but praised the work of the Mayo Clinic as "among the highest-quality, lowest-cost health care systems in the country."  President Obama shared copies of that article with his cabinet.  By the way, I recommend that New Yorker article-and others written by Gawande-to anyone interested in finding out what's broken with our current system.  A link is on this webpage.

Even opponents to pending health care reform proposals find leadership in Minnesota.  Just last week, The New York Times highlighted efforts in the Minnesota state legislature to amend our state constitution to outlaw any requirement that individuals buy health insurance.  And Governor Pawlenty has publicly voiced federal constitutional concerns in opposition to mandatory individual coverage.

This is all a long way of explaining why Hamline's law school three years ago established a Health Law Institute.  In that short time, the HLI-under the leadership of Associate Professor Cindy Jesson-has become the hub for the health care policy community in the Twin Cities and elsewhere in the Upper Midwest, and is now ranked among the top 20 health law programs in the nation.  We employ both law professors and practitioners in the field to present real world learning experiences to our students.  We offer an award-winning corporate compliance program.  And we invite national speakers, and conduct professional development workshops, that address not only existing health law, but engage policy issues that are at the center of the national debate on health care reform.

One of those policy forums will take place this week.  I invite all of you to join us at the Community Conversation on Health Reform this Wednesday, October 7 at 4:30 p.m. at Klas Center.  Our program features experts from a variety of health care perspectives: from the physicians, health plans, quality improvement, consumers, and hospitals.  The first part of the program features an update on the current proposals before Congress.  It will then move to a panel discussion of questions from the audience.   Professor Jesson will moderate.  So please attend so that you can question, learn, and form your own opinion about the best approach to reform our health care system. 

I will also alert you to two upcoming programs on health care in November.

First, on Thursday, November 12, we will host a conversation on the lessons learned from the H1N1 pandemic. Our featured guest will be Dr. Michael Osterholm, the nationally-known public health scientist and Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

Second, TPT MN, the regional public television station, will broadcast Cogito, a new forum here at Hamline on law and public policy.  The subject was "The Economics and Ethics of Health Care," and the discussion was led by U.S. District Judge James Rosenbaum.  The forum took place on campus last month and was taped for later broadcast on Sundays, November 22 and November 29.

In the meantime, stay healthy.  We'll see you next week.


Posted by Zoe Miron at 08/25/2010 09:19:46 AM