Gov. Janet Napolitano, AZ
Gov. Mike Huckabee, AR
Gov. Bill Owens, CO
Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, ID
Gov. Tom Vilsack, IA
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, KS
Gov. Kathleen Blanco, LA
Gov. John Baldacci, ME
Gov. Mitt Romney, MA
Gov. Jennifer Granholm, MI
Gov. Haley Barbour, MS
Gov. Judy Martz, MT
Gov. Mike Johanns, NE
Gov. John Hoeven, ND
Gov. Brad Henry, OK
Gov. Ted Kulongoski, OR
Gov. Edward Rendell, PA
Gov. Mark Sanford, SC
Gov. Michael Rounds, SD
Gov. Phil Bredesen, TN
Gov. Olene Walker, UT
Gov. Jim Douglas, VT
Gov. Charles W. Turnbull, VI
Gov. Mark R. Warner, VA
Gov. Gary Locke, WA
Gov. Bob Wise, WV
Gov. James Doyle, WI
Gov. David Freudenthal, WY
President, Achieve, Inc. (ECW)
J. Clarence (Terry) Davies
Fellow, Resources for the Future (NR)
Executive Director, Policy, Office of Policy and Representation, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (HHS)
Chief Administrative Officer, Florida Virtual School (ECW)
David W. Gordon
Superintendent, Sacramento County, California Office of Education (ECW)
Stanley G. Jones
Commissioner for Higher Education, State of Indiana (ECW)
Vice President, Regional Innovation, Council on Competitiveness (EDC)
Executive Director, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured (HHS)
American Mountaineer and Expedition Leader (session for Governors' staff)
Director of Natural Resources Studies, Cato Institute (NR)
Hon. Tommy G. Thompson
Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Ph.D., Select University Technologies, Inc. (EDC)
Liaison to the President of the United States
Director of Mobility, General Motors
Director and principal research scientist, Intel Proactive Health Research, and National Chair, Center for Aging Services (health care)
Principal, Fregonese Calthorpe Associates (health care)
Allan D. Gilmour
Vice Chairman, Ford Motor Company (health care)
former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and founder of the Center for Health Transformation (health care)
Liaison to the President of the United States
Hon. Kimitaka Kuze
Member, Japanese House of Councillors
Hon. Leon Panetta
President, Panetta Institute and former White House Chief of Staff and Director of the Office of Management and Budget (health care)
Orin C. Smith
President and CEO, Starbucks Coffee Company (health care)
- Economic Development and Commerce (EDC) - Meeting the Challenge of Globalization: Improving State Competitiveness
- Education, Early Childhood and Workforce Committee (ECW) - Solutions for Tomorrow: Helping All Students Achieve Secondary and Post Secondary Success
- Health and Human Services (HHS) - The Uninsured: Challenges and Solutions
- Natural Resources (NR) - Is There a Case for Environmental Optimism?
- 2003-04 Chair Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne's Initiative - A Lifetime of Health and Dignity: Confronting Long-term Care Challenges in America
- Plenary Session Discussion Subject - Health care
It was mentioned that 30 states had participated at a policy gathering at which twenty action items were developed for use by Governors in addressing the issue of long-term care.
Two speakers made presentations to Governors on ways in which communities and individual homes could be made more accommodating to an aging society. John Fregonese of Fregonese Calthorpe Associates reported that by the year 2030, the median age of the U.S. population would increase to 39 years from its current 35, and that the percentage of the population older than 65 would rise from 13 to 20. This meant rethinking community design, which tended to favor large lot housing that reaped the highest property tax benefits, rather than the kinds of smaller or multifamily units that people in their senior years wanted and could afford. In addition, recognizing that driving was a problem for many elderly people, Fregonese said that walkability was an important factor to consider in community planning to ensure that older Americans remained mobile and healthy. He said that Governors could help promote communities that were more accessible and comfortable for the elderly by developing state and/or regional housing analyses, advocating the monitoring of local housing markets, developing incentives and models for more flexible zoning, and promoting transportation policies that took land use issues into consideration.
Eric Dishman of Intel spoke of a project that he oversaw to promote the development of new technology to help transform homes into healthcare delivery systems and ultimately to enable baby boomers to take a more proactive approach in meeting their own health needs. He mentioned such inventions as a cane that was fitted with sensors to indicate how much force was being put on it. Among other things, feedback from those sensors would help prevent falls by letting a doctor know if a patient's mobility was deteriorating. Also envisioned was a watch containing a tiny computer that could track a patient's activities.
Dishman conceded that many companies were reluctant to research and produce technology for the elderly, because they did not want to be associated with "aging," were afraid of being sued, or faced nonuniform licensing requirements in different statesall issues that he felt Governors could help overcome. As for the possibility that new technology for use in the homes of elderly patients might raise concerns about invasion of privacy, Dishman emphasized that such technology needed to be viewed as a means of communication rather than surveillance. In addition, many people were willing to sacrifice some privacy for the peace of mind that new technology afforded them.
Governors were presented with different viewpoints on the health care crisis. Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, emphasized two changes that needed to be made in our health care system: (1) converting from paper to electronic maintenance of medical information, both to reduce errors (e.g., resulting from the illegibility on prescriptions) and to expedite care (e.g., by making records available via computer when a person's doctor was unavailable to provide it); and (2) providing incentives for consumers to take steps to prevent illness.
Leon Panetta, former Member of Congress and Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton, said that while there was broad consensus on diagnosing our nation's health care problems, there was little consensus on the treatment. At the very least, however, there should be consensus on the broad goals of health care reform: affordability, accessibility, accountability, reliability, and fiscal responsibility. He spoke in favor of the health care plan proposed by Democratic presidential candidate and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, under which the government would pick up 75 percent of the cost of catastrophic health care, the objective being that the resulting savings to the private sector would be returned to workers in the form of lower health insurance premiums.
Governors also heard from several representatives of the private sector. Allan Gilmour of Ford Motor Company commented that health care expenditures had grown at an average rate of seven percent during the previous five yearsmore than double the rate of inflation. And the percentage of large firms providing health insurance to retirees had dropped by 28 percent in the previous 15 years. Gilmour said that providing coverage to Ford's retirees added $1,000 to the sticker price of each of the company's cars and trucks built in the United States, and roughly one-third of that amount was related to prescription drug costs.
Orin Smith of Starbucks said that from its inception, his company had made a commitment to provide comprehensive health care that was affordable and accessible to all employeesboth full-time and part-time. In fact health care was among the most important reasons that employees gave for joining the company, as a result of which Starbucks had a turnover rate half the national average. Yet the company's health care costs had increased 14 percent the previous year, the fourth year in which they had risen by double digits, despite the fact that the average age of Starbucks' workforce was only 26.
Governor Mark Warner of Virginia said: "...in the healthcare system...we are taking the lifespan of the human being and extending it dramatically. And in extending it dramatically, we are changing...from a system that treats people over a period of time to an acute care health system which disproportionately spends a lot of money on that last 30 days to six months of a person's life...I'm not sure how we grapple with that, other than asking really hard questions about rationing that nobody in the public policy realm wants to ask or try to answer."
Selected Policy Positions Adopted: (1) Expressing the Governors' support for the deductibility of state sales taxes from federal income taxes; (2) urging the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to consider water-based recreational activities when determining the economic value of an inland navigation system; (3) urging continued federal funding for research and development technology to minimize emissions of greenhouse gases, and urging the U.S. to seek shared international responsibility regarding climate change, while protecting American interests; (4) emphasizing the importance of rigorous K-12 science and math curricula to help students pursue careers in those fields and to ensure employers an ample supply of skilled workers; (5) acknowledging the importance of history, geography, economics, and civics in the nation's educational system; highlighting the important role of Head Start and other early care programs in helping to improve school readiness; and supporting greater coordination and alignment of child care and school readiness programs; (6) outlining Governors' concerns about excessive federal unemployment taxes, supporting immediate repeal of the FUTA (Federal Unemployment Tax Act) surtax, and supporting the distribution of excess funds in the federal accounts of the unemployment trust fund to make a larger share of FUTA proceeds available to states; (7) affirming the Governors' support for public charter schools as an option in the public school system to help boost academic achievement; (8) calling for enhanced prevention of juvenile crime and delinquency, as well as early intervention, through programs to address the mental health needs of youth, to help academically at-risk youth learn successfully and complete high school, and to reduce or prevent bullying in schools; (9) seeking additional federal assistance to combat the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine; and (10) encouraging Governors to be supportive of active duty, National Guard, and Reserve troops and their families.