May 05, 2017

Symposium will explore the future of U.S. health care

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A symposium in Springfield will examine the rapidly evolving proposals to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act and the impact on medicine and quality of patient care both nationally and in Illinois. 

The 18th SIH/SIU Health Policy Institute program, “Obamacare After Obama: The Future of U.S. Health Care at a Crossroads,” is May 19 at the Memorial Center for Learning and Innovation, 228 W. Miller St., Springfield. The program runs from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and will also be available via interactive video at the SIU School of Law in Carbondale and the Illinois State Bar Association’s office in Chicago. Online registration is available at

A conference brochure and additional program information is available at

W. Eugene Basanta, Southern Illinois Healthcare Professor of Law Emeritus, said the symposium will bring together experts to provide “up-to-date and balanced insights into this critical policy area – both nationally and here in Illinois.” Basanta, who is also a professor in the SIU School of Medicine’s Department of Medical Humanities, noted that the proposals to amend the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” present a “moving target in Washington, D.C., on an almost daily basis.” 

Topics will include the challenges of budgets and health care, and the impact of reforms on health care providers, health insurers and other health care organizations. The symposium will also explore the future of Medicaid, the impact on women’s health coverage, and the present status of the Affordable Care Act as Illinois grapples with a budget crisis. 

Basanta emphasized the speakers are each well qualified to discuss the topics from a practical policy perspective “without any specific political agenda.” 

“As we identified and invited our speakers, we did so with this goal in mind -- to avoid political posturing and to instead offer thoughtful insights that will help the audience better understand various proposals and how they will impact health care providers, insurers, employers -- and most significantly patients,” Basanta said. 

Presenters include G. William Hoagland, senior vice president of the Bipartisan Policy Center; Jeremy Earl, a partner in the McDermott Will & Emery law firm; Larry S. Boress, president and CEO of the Chicago-based Midwest Business Group on Health and executive director of the National Association of Worksite Health Centers; Leighton Ku, professor of health policy and management and director of the Center for Health Policy Research at George Washington University; Dr. Daniel Derksen, the Walter H. Pearce Endowed Chair and director of the Arizona Center for Rural Health and professor and chair of the Community, Environment and Policy Department at the University of Arizona’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health; Linda Baker, university professor, SIU Carbondale Paul Simon Public Policy Institute; and Dania Palanker, assistant research professor at the Center on Health Insurance Reforms at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute. 

Registration fees range from $50 to $125, with up to 5.25 hours of continuing legal, medical and nursing education credits available for attorneys, physicians and nurses. 

Event sponsors also include Southern Illinois Healthcare, the SIU School of Medicine, the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Illinois State Medical Society and the Chicago Medical Society.