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Debate Over Health Care Reform Takes Center Stage at School of Business

September 27, 2012
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From left to right: University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala; Christopher Schön (MBA '12), president of the Graduate Society of Healthcare Leaders; and Steven G. Ullmann, professor and director of the School's Center for Health Sector Management and Policy

“The debate about health care [reform], at its core, is a debate about the role of government. It is a natural debate that has evolved over the years.” That observation came from University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala, who joined Steven G. Ullmann, professor and director of the School's Center for Health Sector Management and Policy, at the School of Business Sept. 21 for a discussion on current issues in health care and the career paths it offers.

The discussion, which was organized by the School’s Graduate Society of Healthcare Leaders (SOHL), addressed the role of health care reform in the upcoming presidential election.

“This is the first time in my lifetime that I remember healthcare being part of a presidential campaign,” said Shalala, who served as U.S. secretary of health and human services (HHS) under President Bill Clinton. “You can hear both candidates talking about health care in a way that we haven’t heard before.”

President Barack Obama’s national health care plan is based on Governor Mitt Romney’s plan in Massachusetts, said Ullmann.

“Romney and Obama are very much in agreement of what health care should look like,” said Ullmann. “It is just a matter of implementation at the state level or the national level.”

Obama, of course, is not the first president who attempted to reform the national health care system.

“It is a very messy highly fragmented system that we ended up with and presidents have had to grapple with it for forever,” said Shalala, who recounted her experience in efforts to change the current health care system when she was the HHS secretary.

From left to right: Mary Young, director of the School's Ziff Graduate Career Services Center; Sebastian the Ibis; and Christopher Schön (MBA '12), president of the Graduate Society of Healthcare Leaders, which helped organize the event.

The panelists also discussed the need to address the rising costs of health care.

“Until the housing crises three years ago, the greatest reason for bankruptcy was health care,” said Ullmann.

Ullmann says the country still will grapple with the issue of misuse of the health system.

“A fair amount of literature out there indicates that a lot of surgical procedures done are either unnecessary or unequivocal,” said Ullmann. To combat this, health care users need to become more educated, he said.

“Americans are going to have to go through a lot of education, particularly those who don't know a lot about how to use urgent care systems,” Ullmann said.

The MBA students in attendance were given the opportunity to ask the panelists questions throughout the hour-long forum.

The taped stream of the panel discussion is available online.

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