PAC-sponsored event features point/counterpoint on healthcare reform
Former Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tommy G. Thompson and former Senator William W. Bradley will trade diverse points of view honed in the national political spotlight during an Orthopaedic Political Action Committee (PAC)-sponsored event at the 2009 Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, on Thursday, Feb. 26, in the Venetian Ballroom. During the event, which will be moderated by PAC Chairman Stuart L. Weinstein, MD, the two respected national figures will respond to member questions in a point/counterpoint format without prepared speeches. Afterward, the speakers will attend a reception for PAC donors (see “PAC schedules VIP reception,” below).
Expanding health access, improving education
Prior to being named HHS Secretary by President George W. Bush, Mr. Thompson served as governor of Wisconsin for an unprecedented four terms, from 1987 to 2001. During that time, he gained national attention for his leadership on welfare reform, expanded access to health care for low-income people, and education.
Through BadgerCare—Wisconsin’s Medicaid/State Children’s Health Insurance Program, Sec. Thompson successfully expanded access to health care. He also undertook initiatives to reform welfare and improve education. He helped to enact Wisconsin Works (W-2)—landmark welfare-to-work legislation that served as a national welfare reform model. Through W-2, the state’s monthly welfare caseload declined by more than 90 percent, while the economic status of those taking part continued to improve.
In 1990, he introduced the nation’s first parental school choice program, enabling low-income families in Milwaukee to send their children to the private or public school of their choice. He also created Wisconsin’s Council on Model Academic Standards and invested heavily in the University of Wisconsin System to attract and retain world-class faculty to its schools.
At HHS, Sec. Thompson led efforts by the Bush Administration to pass and implement Medicare drug benefits for American seniors, and improved the nation’s public health infrastructure by providing states and communities with necessary resources to respond to terrorist attacks and other public health emergencies.
Sec. Thompson is a senior advisor and founding chairman to the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, and a partner at the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. He is currently working to develop innovative solutions to the challenges facing American families and healthcare professionals. These efforts focus on improving the use of information technology in hospitals, clinics, and doctors offices; promoting healthier lifestyles; strengthening and modernizing Medicare and Medicaid; and expanding the use of medical diplomacy around the world.
Recently, he addressed the conference “America’s Health Care at Risk: Finding a Cure,” where he told attendees that “2009 is going to be the biggest transformational year any of us in this room, or anybody across America has ever seen for health care.” (See coverage in the November 2008 issue of AAOS Now, available online at www.aaosnow.org)
From the basketball court to the global arena
Sen. Bradley first came to national and even worldwide attention as a member of the 1964 Olympic gold-medal-winning American basketball team. A Rhodes scholar with a graduate degree in politics, philosophy, and economics, he played professional basketball for the New York Knicks from 1967 to 1977 and was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982. From 1979 to 1997, he represented New Jersey in the U.S. Senate. In 2000, Sen. Bradley ran a strong campaign to challenge Al Gore for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Sen. Bradley has defined the healthcare problem in America as one of coverage, costs, and quality. He has called for an “ethic of connectedness” that would incorporate both an “ethic of caring” or collective action and individual responsibility. He has also called for a rational payment system that does not pit physicians trying to get paid against insurance companies “trying not to pay them.”
“We need a healthcare system that’s the equivalent of the kind of health care we can deliver to people in this country,” he says.
Sen. Bradley has authored six books on American politics, culture, and economy, including Time Present, Time Past—a best-selling memoir of his life as a Senator and his travels throughout the United States—and Life on the Run—based on his experience as a professional basketball player. His latest book is New American Story, a thoughtful review of current politics and a collection of ideas to improve major policy issues.
From 1997 to 1999, he was a senior adviser and vice chairman of the International Council of J.P. Morgan & Company Incorporated. During that time he also served as an essayist for CBS Evening News, and as a visiting professor at Stanford University, Notre Dame University, and the University of Maryland.
Currently, Sen. Bradley serves as a managing director of Allen & Company LLC and is a member of the board of directors of Starbucks. He also has a weekly radio show—American Voices—that highlights the remarkable accomplishments of Americans both famous and unknown.
Sec. Thompson and Sen. Bradley will be appearing in the Venetian Ballroom on Thursday, Feb. 26 at 11 a.m.
Peter Pollack is a staff writer for AAOS Now. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
PAC schedules VIP reception
Renewing your Orthopaedic Political Action Committee (PAC) membership with a $1,000 or more contribution before Feb. 6, 2009, will grant you access to a VIP Reception with both Secretary Thompson and Senator Bradley following their presentation at the Academy’s Annual Meeting on Feb. 26, 2009.
To guarantee your place, make your donation today by visiting the Orthopaedic PAC Web site (www.aaos.org/pac) and clicking on “Donate to the PAC.” When your contribution is received, you will receive a confirmation letter and event details. Space is limited and reservations will be confirmed based on the order in which they are received.
Learn more about the legislative and regulatory activities of the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the Orthopaedic PAC at the Annual Meeting by visiting the AAOS Advocacy Booth in the Upper Level Grand Foyer of the Venetian Sands Resort Hotel.