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Alain C. Enthoven, an emeritus professor of economics at Stanford and former assistant secretary of defense in the Johnson administration, told the 14th annual Community Health Forum on Nov. 6 that further health care reform is necessary, but came short of calling Obamacare a complete flop.

Alain C. Enthoven, an emeritus professor of economics at Stanford and former assistant secretary of defense in the Johnson administration, told the 14th annual Community Health Forum on Nov. 6 that further health care reform is necessary, but came short of calling Obamacare a complete flop.

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Economist Alain Enthoven: Further health care reform needed

Provost highlights health sciences, liberal arts education at Pacific
Nov 9, 2015

A leading health care economist gave his take on the future of the Affordable Care Act to an audience of health care, education and business leaders gathered Friday at University of the Pacific's Stockton campus.

Alain C. Enthoven, an emeritus professor of economics at Stanford and former assistant secretary of defense in the Johnson administration, told the 14th annual Community Health Forum that further health care reform is necessary, but came short of calling Obamacare a complete flop.

"I'm concerned about the growth in health care spending. ... But I'm reluctant to say it's a big failure," said Enthoven, answering questions at the end of the forum organized by the Community Health Leadership Council, whose members include Pacific President Pamela Eibeck and Pacific professors Peter Hilsenrath and Joseph Woelfel. "Clearly, it has deficiencies. ... But it is a serious attempt to get everyone insured."

The Affordable Care Act was not properly implemented, said Enthoven, but there are ways to make it better, including providing universal health insurance using managed competition. Enthoven has written that "managed competition as a means to reform the U.S. health care system is compatible with Americans' preferences for pluralism, individual choice and responsibility, and universal coverage."

Health Forum
Alain C. Enthoven speaks at the 14th annual
Community Health Forum on Nov. on Pacific's
Stockton campus.


Enthoven also said the nation spends too much on health care, diverting money from defense, education, infrastructure and better wages. Other nations are able to spend less yet have better health outcomes, Enthoven said.

He pointed at Kaiser Permanente as "the prototypical and most successful" system for quality, affordable health care. "This is forcing others to reorganize to compete with Kaiser," Enthoven said. "I'm just surprised it's taken this long."

Other speakers addressed training the next generation of health care professionals.

Provost Maria Pallavicini highlighted pharmacy, physical therapy, audiology and other health sciences programs at Pacific. She also talked of the analytics program in San Francisco and the high demand for analytics expertise in health care. She highlighted the importance of a liberal arts background for health care careers as well.

Brian Jensen, vice president of the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California referred to Pacific as "a hub of opportunity."

Jensen said the San Joaquin Valley faces a health care workforce shortage, including an estimated 600 more nurses each year in the San Joaquin Valley. He cited programs such as Stockton Unified School District's Health Careers Academy High School as ways to encourage more young people to enter health professions.

The annual Community Health Forum is organized by Lita Wallach, director of the Community Health Leadership Council and president of Wallach and Associates, and hosted annually by the Community Health Leadership Council, a sponsored collaborative of the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors
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