What They’re Watching: Bill Popp

Bill Popp, President and CEO of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation, joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss Alaska’s fiscal crisis and its impact on healthcare.

We haven’t seen a lot of traction on policy issues or on innovation in healthcare, other than in the Native medical community. We’ve seen significant investment in new opportunities to provide healthcare services that previously weren’t available, especially to specific portions of the population. But when it comes to innovation in terms of the delivery of healthcare at a more cost effective way or in the policy issues that are going to help with the cost of insurance and the cost of day-to-day health care, we have a long way to go and it is conferences like this that start to touch on those issues and at least start to spark the discussion and the debate. Until we get the state’s fiscal crisis solved, which is a major elephant in the room that is pretty much sucking all the air out of the room, there’s no air left to have major policy discussions on issues like healthcare, not in a significant way. And until we know what the fiscal future of the state is in terms of how it’s going to pay for government and what’s going to be available to pay for key services in terms of dollars and where they’re coming from, we’re not going to have a clear understanding or direction for significant policy change in the issues of healthcare.