5 Things Texas: Waiver approved, W. Stephen Love, #JPM2018

We are thrilled to be hosting about 300 of you in three weeks at our 2018 Texas State of Reform Health Policy Conference!  And, because so much of what we’re watching in Texas health care will also be featured on our agenda next month, we thought we’d highlight a couple of key panels for you in our February newsletter.

I hope we’ll see you in Austin on February 1st!  Now, onto 5 Things We’re Watching in Texas health care.

DJ 5 Things Signature


1.  Waiver approved; the future of Medicaid

We reported last month that the 1115 waiver was nearing final resolution.  CMS finally approved the Texas waiver last month, awarding Texas a huge payment amount of $25 billion over almost 5 years. However, CMS states in a letter that the amount of DSRIP funds will decrease over time, and is zero-ed out in the final year of the waiver.

At State of Reform on Feb 1, we’ll have a panel directly on “The Future of Texas Medicaid” with some of the most important voices in the conversation.  We also host senior Commission staff on a panel titled “Update from HHSC.” I think you’ll find both to be conversations offering smart, forward-looking insights if you’re interested in where Texas Medicaid is heading in 2018.



2.  JP Morgan conference: Mike’s rule

JP Morgan’s conference for investors in health care took place this week.  There were about 10,000 attendees in or “around” the San Francisco event.

Some useful take-aways from the event:  this chart is a good summary of where the money goes in health care. Shockingly for non-scientists, one “panel on gene therapy acknowledged that reimbursement might just be the trickiest part of these innovative therapies” (the first FDA approved therapy costs $850k).  The disruptive threat from Amazon is a primary driver of increasing M&A activity, not efficiency. US life expectancy per dollar spent is far behind other countries, and getting worse due to opioids.

However, sadly, there are more CEOs named Michael presenting than all of the women presenters combined.


3. Key Texas policy discussions

We host Republican and Democratic legislators throughout our agenda in three weeks, including leaders from appropriations, public health, and health and human services committees.  We also have some of the most thoughtful professionals from the legal field from firms like Schwabe Williamson Wyatt, Strasburger, and Fibich Leebron. You’ll find that session at 2:45.

We also have some of Austin’s most well connected insiders from the lobbying community.  Darren Whitehurst from TMA and Denise Rose from Jackson Walker join a panel with other advocates at 10:30.

In short, I think we’ve got a really strong lineup of speakers for health care and health policy leaders to engage with at our February 1st convening.  We’d love to have you take a look at the day’s agenda, and – if you’re interested – sign up to be with us in three weeks!


4.  Video: Stephen Love on the ACA

Stephen Love is the President and CEO of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council, as well as a member of our Convening Panel. I think he is one of the savvier voices in Texas health care.  He’ll be speaking as a panelist at our conference on February 1st on the “Vision for a Post-ACA Texas Health System” panel.

He joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss the ACA and tele-medicine in Texas.  “As we look at the Affordable Care Act, has it been successful? One, it did increase coverage. That’s one of the things it was supposed to do. Two, healthcare costs have gone up, but not at the rate they were going up in the past. So it did help, in many ways, to reduce cost.”

You can also read his latest post at State of Reform where he advocates that it’s time to reauthorize CHIP for the benefit of Texans across the state.


5. Podcast:  John Kitzhaber on Medicaid reform

Dr. John Kitzhaber is one of America’s leading independent voices on health reform. He was an emergency room physician in a small, rural community where he was also elected to serve in the legislature. Later he became a four time elected governor of Oregon, and named the second most influential person in health care by Modern Healthcare Magazine.

He will be our Morning Keynote speaker on February 1st discussing what Medicaid reform can look like in Texas. He’s been working with both former and current governors (like John Kasich (OH) and John Hickenlooper (CO) on a bi-partisan vision for health reform.

We recorded this podcast with him recently to discuss the logic of Medicaid reforms in Oregon and how they might apply to other states. Take a listen and bring your questions for him to our conference on Feb 1 in Austin!