April 27, 2016
Tallahassee, Fla. – The Foundation of Associated Industries of Florida (FAIF) today wrapped up its two-day 2016 Florida Health Care Affordability Summit held at the Orlando World Center Marriott, where thought leaders from across the health care industry spectrum gathered to participate in objective, highly-engaging, and uninhibited discussions to work toward practical, tangible solutions that will lower the barriers of accessibility to good, quality health care in the State of Florida for all.
Among the many noted experts was Cindy Mann, Esq., formerly with the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, who is one of the nation’s foremost authorities on health care policy and reform and is known for leading the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). With more than 30 years of experience in federal and state health policy, focused on health coverage, financing, access and operational issues, Mann shared her insights and predictions on the future health care landscape.
“We have a lot of uninsured people in Florida, the second highest in the nation,” said Mann during her presentation at the Summit. “They are caught in a coverage gap, which ironically, where we tell them they are too poor to be able to qualify for the subsidy in the availability in the exchange if they do not have coverage in their workplace and yet where they have too much money to be able to qualify for the Medicaid program in Florida. That gap in coverage leads to higher health care costs both for the public and for the private sectors. We see unnecessary emergency room use, we see unnecessary inpatient admissions and readmissions, and we see high rates of uncompensated care in our hospitals across the State of Florida. Those are just some of the evidence of why the nation as a whole has embraced coverage generally, even if not embracing the specifics of the Affordable Care Act.”
Also speaking at this year’s Summit was Oxitec’s CEO Hadyn Parry, who discussed its innovative technology and genetically modified mosquitos that are currently being used in Brazil and Panama, where communities have seen a 90 percent reduction in Aedes aegypti mosquito population. Oxitec continues to pioneer new technology to control the spread of new insect-borne threats, such as Zika.
“Genetically engineered mosquitos are mosquitos that have been modified to help protect people,” said Parry. “And, the way in which we protect people is we modify the mosquito, one called Aedes aegypti, so it can’t reproduce effectively. This mosquito carries what we call a self-limiting gene which means when it mates with a female, because we only release males because they don’t bite, the offspring will die. The more we release, the more that mate, the more that will die, the faster we bring the population down. No mosquitos, no disease. Less mosquitos, less disease.”
In addition to Mann and Parry, Lars Houmann, president and CEO of Florida Division of Adventist Health System, who is recognized each year as one of Florida’s most influential people in health care, shared how leaders can better serve clients and employees through building healthier communities at this year’s Summit. With more than 20 years of economic development experience and various leadership roles within Florida Hospital, he has been instrumental in setting the standard of excellence for health care and business in Florida.
“We know that in business, we’ve got people offering wellness packages and more and more incentives being added to health plans to do the things that clearly correlate with a reduction in health care costs and thankfully in a better, healthier life for us and for the employers who are a part of this productive and healthy workforce,” said Houmann during his presentation at the Summit. “So we are seeing health coaches being developed, we’re seeing more and more formula-driven things on healthy behavior and lifestyle improvements – so good health is a smart investment and it is a necessary one.”
“This year’s Florida Health Care Affordability Summit was very successful in bringing together Florida’s brightest experts and strongest leaders to all work toward a healthier Florida,” said AIF President & CEO Tom Feeney. “Our open forum, which fostered conversations on how quality health care can be affordable and accessible to all Floridians, boasted some of the most knowledgeable stakeholders that covered the most current topics in Florida’s public policy health care conversations. We thank our speakers, moderators, panelists and our sponsors for making this Summit a memorable one.”
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