Published 11/1/2008
Peter Pollack

‘Health Care at Risk’ seeks bipartisan solutions

AAOS-sponsored conference brings together diverse viewpoints

It was an extraordinary gathering—politicians from both sides of the aisle, healthcare professionals, labor and business leaders, and other interested participants. They were meeting in Orlando, Fla., Sept. 17–18, 2008, in an attempt to break down the barriers of partisanship and self-interest and open a dialog on the healthcare crisis in the United States. AAOS Now was there, and this issue includes our comprehensive coverage of the sessions.

“America’s Health Care at Risk: Finding a Cure,” was the brainchild of Doctors for Medical Liability Reform (DMLR) and the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). The conference was then turned over to the White House Writers Group and West Wing Writers, which worked closely with DMLR, AAOS, and other stakeholders to develop the program.

“We had noticed that whenever groups got together to discuss healthcare reform, it was with people who largely agreed with them,” explained Paul Orzulak of West Wing Writers. “It occurred to us that that might be one of the reasons why our nation has made so little progress on health care.”

The two-day extended conversation, which included leaders from across the political and social spectrum, opened with a dinner dialogue between Democratic consultant James Carville and Republican strategist Karl Rove. (See “Carville, Rove take aim at healthcare issues”.)

Additional highlights included discussions between former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (See “Healthcare Reform: Will 2009 be the year?”) and between Sens. Tom Coburn, MD, and Ron Wyden (See “Politicians promote prevention, portability”). Other speakers included Florida Gov. Charlie Crist; John Inglehart, founding editor of Health Affairs; Henry J. Aaron of The Brookings Institution; Regina Herzlinger of Harvard Business School; and healthcare advisors to Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama.

Peter Pollack is a staff writer for AAOS Now. He can be reached at ppollack@aaos.org