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November 07, 2009, 2:30 PM

The Future of Health Care

Participants: Robert Doar, Jonathan Jacobs, Diane Meier, Helen Morik, Gregory Nersessian

Significant progress in medical science, in particular therapeutics, has led to improvements in longevity and quality of life, but has simultaneously rendered the question of health care costs more intractable. Unlike countries with socialized health care, the United States stands out as a nation that does not have an affordable health delivery system available for all of its citizens. Previous attempts at reforming the health care system having failed, the current administration appears determined to find a way to remedy the problem, not only to provide better and more accessible health care, but also to deal with the issue of escalating costs. Finding a way to reconcile these two somewhat opposing aims is proving a monumental task. This roundtable will address possible outcomes of the health care puzzle. What bargains will have to be made? What will be sacrificed and what will be gained? What are the moral implications regarding individual freedom versus society's obligation to its citizens?

Robert Doar is Commissioner of the Human Resources Administration and Department of Social Services (HRA/DSS). With more than 14,000 employees, HRA/DSS is the nation's largest municipal social service agency and leads New York City's welfare reform initiatives. Doar is the former Commissioner of the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), the agency which has leadership responsibility for local welfare, food stamp, child support and disability determination programs across the state.

Jonathan Jacobs is a Professor of Clinical Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and Attending Physician at New York Presbyterian Hospital. He is the founder and director of the Center for Special Studies, a multidisciplinary care program for people with HIV.

Diane Meier is Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care, a national initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, devoted to increasing the number of hospital and nursing home based palliative care programs in the United States. She is also Director of the Lilian and Benjamin Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute; Professor of Geriatrics and Internal Medicine; Catherine Gaisman Professor of Medical Ethics; and Chief of the Division of Geriatrics for the Department of Medicine, at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Helen Morik is Vice President for Government and Community Affairs at New York - Presbyterian Hospital. She and her colleagues are responsible for lobbying representatives in the House and Senate to convey concerns regarding the interests of the hospital and its patients, as well as health care reform. Increasing the number of residents trained by the hospital, expanding insurance coverage among patients, and ensuring continued payments to hospitals for uninsured patients have been recent areas of focus in her work. Morik was previously Chief of Staff for U.S. Congressman Ted Weiss (D - NY).

Gregory K. Nersessian is a Vice President and Senior Analyst in the equity research department at Credit Suisse, covering the managed care industry. He joined Credit Suisse in May 2006, after spending five years at Lehman Brothers, with primary coverage responsibilities for the Medicaid managed care and disease management industries. For his work in this area, Nersessian was voted as a "Top Up and Comer" in the 2005 Institutional Investor equity research poll.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.


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