Tom Daschle discusses changes to health care

By Paige Pearcy, Daily Staff Reporter
Published November 16, 2011

When provisions of the Affordable Care Act go into effect in 2014, health insurance will undergo a drastic change in its methodology — part of which was developed at the University.

As the keynote speaker of the symposium on “The State of Value Based Insurance Design” yesterday, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D–South Dakota) addressed a crowd of about 350 insurance industry leaders, University students and faculty. At the University’s North Campus Research Complex, Daschle discussed the necessity of changing the health care perspective from being illness centric to wellness centric.

Daschle noted that some current issues with health care are quality, access, cost and transparency. However, he lauded Ann Arbor for excelling in these areas.

“We have islands of excellence; Ann Arbor’s a good example in a sea of mediocrity,” Daschle said. “We haven’t addressed the quality challenges that we face effectively in our country today.”

Value Based Insurance Design, or V-BID, which is used in the national health care reform bill and the public and private insurance sectors, was first named and published by University faculty. The University’s Center for Value-Based Insurance Design, which is housed in the School of Public Health, was formed in 2005.

The goal of V-BID is to balance health care costs with quality. In order to do this, health care services are equated based on their different values, and patients’ out-of-pocket costs are adjusted in accordance to the value of the service.

The University also uses V-BID in MHealthy, which offers wellness programs, including resources to help members quit smoking and follow a healthy nutrition plan for University employees.

In his speech yesterday, Daschle praised the V-BID methodology for its emphasis on wellness.

“I think it’s critical that we remain innovative,” Daschle said. “V-BID is probably the best illustration of extraordinary innovation, and therein lies our secret. We’ve always been innovative people.”

After Daschle’s speech, University President Mary Sue Coleman gave a few remarks about the University’s Center for V-BID and its influence.

“I look forward to all sorts of innovations in how we approach health services research and translate that research into real health policy for all Americans,” Coleman said. “The concept of Value-Based Insurance Design is a Michigan idea born through collaboration between our schools of public health and medicine.”

To ensure equality in health care systems, Daschle said the public needs to be more aware of what is going on in Washington. Specifically, he said constituents should know who their senators and representatives are so they can give their input to changes in health care policy.

During a brief period for questions that followed Coleman’s and Daschle’s speeches, Coleman asked Daschle about universal insurance forms, which will begin in 2013, that are designed to help streamline health care costs.

“We might be able to get rid of the minions of people we have trying to figure out the insurance forms and fill them out,” Coleman said.

Daschle said he wants University students to know that they need to educate themselves on the issues of health care reform so they can actively participate in policy discussions.

“Your generation is by far the most effected by what happens,” Daschle said. “It may seem distant, and it may seem unrelated, but it is a very serious mistake to think that you’re not going to be affected by these decisions.”

On Monday, the United States Supreme Court decided to hear a challenge to President Obama's 2010 health care overhaul law. The Supreme Court slated oral arguments to be finished by March and a decision to be made in late June.

Correction appended: A previous version of this article misquoted a word in a quote from Mary Sue Coleman and incorrectly stated the amount of people at the event.