5 Things Washington: Lessons from COVID, Future of Medicaid, Cascade Care

I’m excited to see so many of you later this week at our 2020 Inland NW State of Reform Health Policy Conference! We close down registration tomorrow, so if you’re planning on joining us, don’t be shy! Get yourself registered to be with us.

We have some truly unique sessions for you, including some that we’ve outlined below. I think the international panel is something you won’t find anywhere else. The “Where do we go from here?” keynote is going to be thoughtful and an interesting mix of really smart folks. And, I’ll provide a presentation called “5 Things We’re Watching,” which you may want to join just for the spectacle of how I get through 80 slides in 30 minutes… I typically only give this presentation at other events where I’m asked to speak, so this will be the first time I offer this at one of our State of Reform events in the state!





With help from Emily Boerger

1. Fiscal policy and the looming budget crisis

While the nation is only six months into the COVID-19 economic contraction, it’s clear we are likely still only at the front end of a major recession. Moreover, with a looming general election and the possibility of significant federal support – or not – the range of variables makes crafting working majorities very difficult. Our budget session at the 2020 INW State of Reform Conference will bring together legislative leaders from all four caucuses for a discussion on the possible options before the legislature.

This panel will feature Rep. Timm Ormsby, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Sen. Christine Rolfes, Chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee, Sen. John Braun, Ranking Member of Ways & Means, and Rep. Drew Stokesbary, Ranking Minority Member of Appropriations.

2. The future of Medicaid

Medicaid has undergone significant changes in the last few years, but with the 1115 waiver set to expire next year, there are key questions related to Medicaid’s structure and funding that are yet to be fully answered. At the conference on September 24th, our panel, “The future of Medicaid,” will take up these questions and draw in a multi-silo panel to sort through them.

Joining the conversation will be State Medicaid Director MaryAnne LindebladCaitlin Safford, Director of Government Relations at Amerigroup, and Chelene Whiteaker, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs at the Washington State Hospital Association.

3. An international view of the COVID pandemic

This keynote panel is one I’m particularly excited to host. We’re using the unique nature of this time in COVID to pull in speakers from London, Rome and Nairobi to each talk through the lessons from the pandemic. We will hear their stories about life in lockdown, about the impacts on their economies, and what they think makes sense for health policy moving forward. This will be such a special opportunity to hear from voices beyond our community.

Panelists include Mohamed Abdirizak, former presidential candidate in Somalia, now based in Nairobi; Ross Ciesla, Chief Investment Officer at Veritas Investment Management in London’s Financial District; and Katherine Wilson, an author and cultural commentator based in Rome. Trust me: these are three folks you’d want to have a dinner party conversation with, and that’s exactly the feel we’ll try to achieve, albeit at 8:00 am PST.


4. Cascade Care and legislative reimbursement

Washington State’s public option has proven to be a flashpoint in health care policy and politics. For all of the hand wringing during the legislative debate, multiple plans and provider partners are now in the market, with pricing that is sometimes more expensive than other products in the market. So, what have we learned from the experience?

Sen. David Frockt, Senate sponsor of the Cascade Care legislation, and Leah Hole-Marshall, JD, General Counsel & Chief Strategist at the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, will offer their insights on the “Cascade Care and legislative reimbursement” panel. Mich’l Needham, Chief Policy Officer at the Health Care Authority, will also speak on the panel.

5. Update on federal policy and rule-making

While the pending election has put some efforts on hold, a number of federal policy initiatives remain in discussion and ready to recommence once the election is concluded. This panel of experts will talk through some of those items teed up that could impact health care well into the next term.

Speaking on our “Update on federal policy and rule-making” panel is Colm O’Comartun, Co-Founder of 50 State, Scott Nelson, Partner at K&L Gates, Paul Dioguardi, Senior Vice President at Forbes Tate Partners, and Colin Goldfinch, Senior Health Policy Advisor for the Senate HELP Committee.


+1: Lessons from fighting COVID

And, one more to flag for you. Our understanding of COVID and its impacts on both individuals and our society continues to evolve. This session, “Lessons from fighting COVID in Washington State,” will review what we have learned from both public health and personal health during this time, and what we might expect in the autumn ahead.

We’ll hear from David Grossman, MD, National Senior Medical Director for Community Health at Kaiser Permanente, Molly Voris, Senior Policy Advisor, Public Health and Health Care at the Office of Gov. Inslee, and Patty Hayes, Director of Public Health – Seattle King County.