The Adams Center

Health Care Symposium

MARCH 25 - 26, 2009

Program Schedule
Program Participants


“We now face an opportunity – and an obligation – to turn the page on the failed politics of yesterday’s health care debates. It’s time to bring together businesses, the medical community and members of both parties around a comprehensive solution to this crisis, and it’s time to let the drug and insurance industries know that while they’ll get a seat at the table, they don’t get to buy every chair … The very first promise I made on this campaign was that, as president, I will sign a universal health care plan into law by the end of my first term in office.”
– President Barack Obama, University of Iowa, May 29, 2007

According to the most recent available government data, which dates back to 2007, 46 million Americans under age 65, the age of Medicare entitlement, are without health insurance. The number today is much higher, because the rate of unemployment has risen dramatically in the past two years and, for most people, health insurance is tied to employment. However, employment does not necessarily mean health insurance coverage. Each year, as premiums increase, fewer employers offer health insurance as an  employee benefit. Some employers reduce the percentage of their premium contribution, making coverage unaffordable for eligible workers, or use part-time or contract employees who are not entitled to coverage. Eighty percent of the uninsured are native or naturalized citizens.

Expenses associated with sudden illness cannot be postponed like the purchase of a new car or clothes. Consequently, millions of Americans constantly face looming financial disaster. People of all ages are unable to afford basic health care that might help prevent catastrophic and costly illness. Fifty percent of the uninsured children in our nation do not receive a well-child check-up annually. The mortality rate for the uninsured is substantially higher than for the insured, and they are far more likely to be hospitalized for an avoidable condition.

National health care costs are approaching $3 trillion annually, account for five percent of the gross national product, and are estimated to amount to 12 percent of the gross national product by 2050, according to the Congressional Budget Office. In his address to a joint session of Congress on Feb. 24, President Obama named health care one of the three most important issues facing the nation.

The country watches with great interest as the Obama administration brings together labor and management, the medical community, health care insurers, consumers, pharmaceutical companies and others to see if a solution is possible, knowing that past efforts at reforming the health care system have resulted in dismal failure. Have we reached a point where necessity will force reform? Can our nation’s legislators put aside partisan interests and forge a reform bill that is truly in the best interests of our citizens?

The Arlin M. Adams Center for Law and Society at Susquehanna University is pleased to present a two-day symposium examining the critical issues surrounding the health care debate. Its goal is to improve public understanding so that the audience may make informed decisions about whether our health care system can be saved and, if so, what needs to be done to save it.

Program Schedule

March 25 – 26, 2009

The Arlin M. Adams Center for Law and Society has convened a two-day symposium to examine the state of health care coverage in America and question whether we should adopt a system of universal health care. Jonathan Cohn, graduate of Harvard University, senior editor at the New Republic and author of the best-seller Sick, is the keynote speaker. Dr. Jerome Groopman, an internationally respected physician, researcher and author himself, has said, “In Sick, Jonathan Cohn takes an honest, penetrating look at a health care system which is completely broken. Cohn has written a call-to-arms for a complete transformation of American medicine.”

All events at the symposium are open to the public free of charge. The events, locations and times are listed below:

Wednesday, March 25

7:30 p.m., Degenstein Center Theater
Keynote address by Jonathan Cohn.

Thursday, March 26

9 – 9:30 a.m., Stretansky Concert Hall
Report on the recommendations of the Citizens’ Health Care Working Group
Dorothy Bazos, Ph.D.

9:45 – 11:30 a.m., Stretansky Concert Hall
Panel discussion regarding the role of government, employers and insurers in health care coverage, moderated by Jan Reichard-Brown, Ph.D., assistant professor of health care studies and & biology
Sherry Glied, Ph.D.
Sen. Vincent J. Hughes
Mark Pauly, Ph.D.
Nina M. Taggart, M.D.

12:30 – 2 p.m., Stretansky Concert Hall
Panel discussion regarding the balance between affordability and comprehensive coverage, moderated by Ted Chappen, Lecturer in Philosophy
Pat Armstrong, Ph.D.
Mary Jo Braid-Forbes
Cara James, Ph.D.
Glenn D. Steele Jr., M.D.

2:30 – 4 p.m., Stretansky Concert Hall
Panel discussion regarding barriers to health care coverage reform, moderated by James Blessing, Ph.D., professor of political science
Hugh Armstrong, Ph.D.
Jill Bernstein, Ph.D.
Berry Friesen, J.D.
Paul Wessel

7 p.m., Degenstein Center Theater
Concluding Dialogue: Should we adopt universal health care coverage in America?, moderated by Allan D. Sobel, director of the Arlin M. Adams Center for Law and Society
Claudia Fegan, M.D., in favor of adoption
Devon Herrick, Ph.D., opposed to adoption

Program Participants

Jonathan Cohn is a senior editor at The New Republic, where he has written about national politics and its influence on American communities for the past decade. He is also a senior fellow at the think tank Demos and a contributing editor at The American Prospect, where he served previously as the executive editor. Cohn, who has been a media fellow with the Kaiser Family Foundation, has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, Mother Jones, Rolling Stone and Slate. A graduate of Harvard University, he now lives in Ann Arbor, Mich., with his wife and two children.

Allan D. Sobel, J.D., first full-time director of the Arlin M. Adams Center for Law and Society, appointed Sept. 18, 2006. He previously served as president of the American Judicature Society (AJS). Established in 1913, AJS is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization devoted to promoting the effective administration of justice. Sobel currently serves as a member of the Pennsylvania Joint State Government Commission Committee on Wrongful Convictions and the Snyder County Criminal Justice Advisory Board.

Glenn D. Steele Jr., M.D., president and CEO of Geisinger Health System, a physician-led health care system dedicated to health care, education, research and service, serving 2.5 million people. Widely recognized for his investigations into the treatment of primary and metastatic liver cancer and colorectal cancer surgery, Steele is former chair of the American Board of Surgery. He is the author or co-author of more than 460 scientific and professional articles.

Nina M. Taggart, M.D., board-certified ophthalmologist with an MBA from Alvernia College and a medical degree from Cornell University Medical College. In addition to her medical practice, Taggart serves as vice-president, Clinical Programs, and corporate medical director for Blue Cross of Northeast Pennsylvania. She is the lead physician on, and architect of, a multidisciplinary team delivering the full spectrum of health management services.

Paul Wessel is the field director for the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, an organization devoted to securing quality, affordable health care for everyone in Connecticut. Wessel has served as a staff member at the Connecticut General Assembly and as deputy economic development administrator for the city of New Haven. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and has done graduate work at the New School University’s Milano School for Management and Urban Policy.

Devon Herrick, Ph.D., senior fellow of the National Center for Policy Analysis. Herrick holds advanced degrees in finance and economics, and is an expert on 21st-century medicine, including the evolution of Internet-based medicine, consumer-driven health care and key changes in the global health market. Herrick currently concentrates his work on critical health care issues, including health insurance and the uninsured, patient empowerment and trends in state health policy reform.

Vincent J. Hughes, Pennsylvania State Senate. Hughes has been a member of the Pennsylvania legislature since 1987, and now represents the 7th Senatorial District and serves as acting secretary of the Senate Democratic Caucus. He also serves as the minority chair on the Senate’s Public Health & Welfare Committee.

Cara James, Ph.D., senior policy analyst for the Race, Ethnicity and Health Care group, and director of the Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholars Program, at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. James’ research interests include racial/ethnic minority health, care for the disabled and other underserved populations, and improving  doctor-patient communication.

Mark V. Pauly, Ph.D., Bendheim professor in the Department of Health Care Management, University of Pennsylvania. He teaches Health Care Management; Insurance and Risk Management; and Business and Public Policy at the Wharton School and serves as professor of economics in the School of Arts and Sciences. Pauly is co-editor in chief of the International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics and an associate editor of the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty.

Jan Reichard-Brown, Ph.D., developmental biology from the University of Cincinnati; assistant professor of health studies and biology, Susquehanna University. She serves as director of the health care studies program, chair of the Health Professions Advising Committee and prehealth advisor. Her areas of teaching include human physiology, human anatomy, and human health and disease. She is a member of the American Academy for Advancement of Science, American Society for Cell Biology, Pennsylvania Academy of Science and the Teratology Society.

Hugh Armstrong, Ph.D., professor of social work, School of Social Work, Carleton University, Ottawa. Armstrong is a leading authority on the Canadian health care system, authoring or co-authoring numerous books and articles, including About Canada: Health Care, Critical to Care: The Invisible Women in Health Services and Unhealthy Times: Political Economy Perspectives on Health and Health Care in Canada, which were co-authored with Pat Armstrong, Ph.D., and others.

Pat Armstrong, Ph.D., professor of health and health care, York University, Toronto. Armstrong is a leading authority on the Canadian health care system, authoring or co-authoring numerous books and articles, including Wasting Away: The Undermining of Canadian Health Care, Heal Thyself: Managing Health Care Reform and Universal Health Care: What the United States Can Learn From the Canadian Experience, which were co-authored with Hugh Armstrong, Ph.D. She also holds a chair funded by the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.

Dorothy A. Bazos, Ph.D., is a registered nurse who works as a health policy consultant and professor at Dartmouth Medical School. Before joining the Dartmouth faculty, Bazos was the associate director for veterans’ rural health initiatives in Vermont. She holds a nursing degree from St. Joseph’s Hospital and a bachelor’s degree from American International College. Bazos served as a member of the Citizens’ Heath Care Working Group, created by Congress to assess where our nation’s citizens stand on health care issues.

Jill Bernstein, Ph.D., sociology from Columbia University. Bernstein provides consulting services to private and public sector organizations, focusing on policy-relevant health care issues related to insurance coverage, health care costs, quality and access to care. She served as research director for The Citizens’ Health Care Working Group, established by Congress in 2003, and provided its final report to the president in late 2006. Her numerous publications have focused on Medicare and other federal health care programs and policy, managed care, benefit design and quality of care evaluation.

James Blessing, Ph.D., political science from the State University of New York at Albany; professor of political science, Susquehanna University. Head of the political science department for 18 years, Blessing teaches courses in Western political thought and comparative government and politics, with a special interest in Western Europe and the European Union. He also coordinates the university’s self-designed major program and has served as assistant dean of the faculty.

Mary Jo Braid-Forbes, M.P.H., from Yale University. Braid-Forbes is an experienced health services and policy consultant. Most recently, she has provided technical support and cost modeling to the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative in developing a comprehensive reform proposal. Braid-Forbes is the architect of several cost estimating models that have been used by national associations advancing health care reform proposals. Her earlier consulting work focused on Medicaid policy development and program implementation, particularly managed care initiatives.

Ted Chappen, M.A., from the University of Chicago; visiting lecturer in philosophy, Susquehanna University. He specializes in Kantian ethics and the history of philosophy. He regularly teaches Problems in Philosophy, Logic, Philosophy and Public Policy, Medical Ethics, and Business Ethics at both Lycoming College and Susquehanna University.

Claudia Fegan, M.D., a board-certified internist and former president of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP). Fegan has served as the medical director at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago and Fantus Health Care, a primary health care clinic that serves 300,000 patients annually and is part of the Cook County, (Ill.) Bureau of Health Services. PNHP is a nonprofit research and education organization of 15,000 physicians, medical students and health professionals who support single-payer national health insurance.

Berry Friesen, J.D. from the University of Minnesota. Friesen is the public affairs manager for Pennsylvania Health Access Network, a coalition of groups organizing consumers to participate in policy advocacy in support of universal access to health care. Friesen has devoted his career to helping people and communities wherever help was needed. He is the first recipient of the national Wheeler-Wellstone Anti-Hunger Advocacy Leadership Award and has received the governor’s “Investing in Our Future Award.”

Sherry A. Glied, Ph.D., professor and department chair, Health Policy and Management, Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health. Glied served as a senior economist for health care and labor market policy to the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, under both Presidents George H.W. Bush and Clinton. Among her current research projects, Glied is studying the profile of the uninsured in America and novel strategies to extend coverage to them.

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