Babson Center for Global Commerce

A Wm. Polk Carey Pre-Business Program

Healthcare reform is next Viewpoints Series topic

04.07.13

Vicky Gregg, retired CEO of Bluecross Blueshield of Tennessee.

Vicky Gregg, the recently retired Chief Executive Officer of Bluecross Blueshield of Tennessee, the state's largest health insurer, will share her perspective on the likely impact of the 2010 Affordable Care Act as the Babson Center’s spring Bryan Viewpoints Series speaker on April 18. The massive federal overhaul of the US health care system is scheduled to go into full effect in 2014.

Her topic, The Affordable Care Act: Expanding Coverage and Improving Care?, will address two of the biggest challenges facing the reform effort: cutting the number of uninsured Americans and making sure that healthcare spending actually improves patients’ health.

 Gregg retired from Bluecross Blueshield at the end of 2012 after taking over the top job at the company in 2003 . All told, she spent 37 years in healthcare, beginning her career as a nurse before switching to healthcare management.

 Gregg remains active in business and civic life. Gov. Bill Haslam appointed her as a member of the board of trustees of the University of Tennessee last year, and she is a director of Team Health Holdings (a hospital staffing firm),  First Horizon National Corporation (a regional bank holding company), and TriZetto, Inc. (a healthcare information technology company). She is also a member of the board of America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry trade group.

 Her lecture is scheduled for 4:30 PM in Gailor Auditorium and will be followed by a reception in the auditorium foyer. The lecture is free and open to the public.

 The healthcare reform law requires most companies with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance, and there is a mix of incentives and penalties to push all Americans to obtain health insurance coverage. At present, more than 40 million Americans have no health insurance, and many more have inadequate coverage to meet major medical needs.

 Despite spending more per capita on healthcare than any other country ($7,960 per person in 2009) and devoting 17 cents out of every dollar of gross domestic product to health spending, there’s evidence that Americans have higher rates of illness and injury than do people in other wealthy countries.

 Poor health is a major drag on the overall US economy. A 2012 study placed the productivity cost to American businesses of unhealthy employees at $576 billion annually.

 While many Americans agree that the current healthcare system is not working, almost four years after the enactment of the 2010 law, the issue of how to reform the US healthcare system remains a contentious topic.

 Insurers like Bluecross Blueshield of Tennessee have predicted that the new law will drive health insurance premiums up by as much as 30 percent, though other studies suggest the overall effect of the reform will be to contain costs.

 Those costs have been surging for years. When a 2012 study showed that premiums for employer-provided health insurance rose by about 4 percent in 2011, reports treated that increase as good news, comparing the hike to a 9 percent increase in 2010.

The Bryan Viewpoints Series at the Babson Center is made possible by a gift from Peggy and J.F. Bryan of Jacksonville, Florida. For more information about this lecture or the many programs of the Babson Center for Global Commerce, please visit the Babson Center web site.

If you cannot make the presentation live, please feel free to join the live webcast at:  http://ustre.am/Wxxf

 

 

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