Updated Jul 27, 2022 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on post-pandemic access to care

On Wednesday, July 27th, Axios health care reporter Caitlin Owens and senior health care editor Adriel Bettelheim led conversations examining the path forward for health care access and equity in a post-pandemic world. Guests included CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.).

Admin. Chiquita Brooks-LaSure discussed how CMS is working to bridge the equity divide in the U.S. health care system, the Biden administration’s focus on strengthening the quality of care in nursing homes and efforts to improve maternal health.

  • On addressing disparities in the health care system: “We have a lot of focus in particular areas, maternal health, mental health, on down the list where we know that there are disparities, and then really making sure that we are collecting data, particularly around not just the characteristics but social needs, which often are a strong indicator of whether people are going to need additional services or additional perspective…whether it’s cultural competency, et cetera. These are really things that we have to think about, because one size does not fit all across our country.” 
  • On plans for improving maternal health care through coverage: “So first is coverage, and making sure that people have access to care so that they’re getting care even before they’re pregnant. So we’re so pleased that 19 states have taken up the American Rescue Plan flexibility to cover postpartum up to 12 months, so 12 months after the delivery of the baby, or an adverse event, people have coverage, which is incredibly important because we know a lot of the deaths actually occur after women give birth.”

Rep. Fred Upton described the current political challenges for Congress in passing legislation to expand health care access and assessed the Republican agenda on health care ahead of the 2024 presidential election cycle. 

  • On what Congress can do in the remainder of this session to address health care: “Bottom line…there’s still work to do. We’re getting some things done…but clearly, at the end of the day, anything that happens has to be bipartisan…I’m hoping that we can get some more of the elements done attached to different bills so that we can make progress on actually solving diseases that impact frankly every family that’s out there.”
  • On GOP health care plans heading into the presidential election cycle: “Well, it seems like every election they say ‘this will be the most important election of your life’, I think that they’ll be saying that again about 2024. Obviously, we have to have a positive agenda. I would say that you’re not going to see a repeal of Obamacare, that’s in place. So that’s not going to be part of the package.” 

In the View from the Top segment, CVS Health VP of pharmacy practice innovation and advocacy Sandra Leal explained what she views as the biggest challenges in health care today.  

  • “I think some of the biggest challenges to accessing health care is just accessing affordable and convenient health care for individuals. During the pandemic, we saw that this was exacerbated, and now people are trying to catch up. They’re trying to catch up on their deferred care, and so that’s a big issue that we’re trying to deal with.”

Thank you CVS Health for sponsoring this event.

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