At a PPIC event yesterday in Sacramento, a panel of experts credited health care reform for successfully expanding coverage to more than three million people in California. But the panelists also said the enrollment period—which just closed—is the very first step in an overhaul of the health system that will take many years to achieve and see many bumps along the way.
If the reform works, the future could be radically different, said Sandra Hernández, the president and CEO of the California HealthCare Foundation, and Mitchell Katz, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health. Among the changes they envisioned: By 2024, there may be smaller hospitals, patients who have fewer doctor visits, and care designed to promote health—not just to treat illness.
Diana Dooley, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, voiced concern that “cost is the elephant in the room.” Unless it is controlled, health care could claim a major and perhaps unsustainable share of the nation’s future GDP, she said.
The comments came during a conversation with PPIC president Mark Baldassare, before a live audience of nearly 300 at the Sacramento Sheraton Grant Hotel—with many also watching the event live online.