'Health Care Reform and the 2020 Election' Conference March 12 | News Center

‘Health Care Reform and the 2020 Election’ Conference March 12 | News Center

Editor’s Note

: On Thursday, March 12, the UNLV Health Law Program, UNLV School of Medicine and UNLV School of Public Health will come together to present the law school’s annual health law conference: Health Care Reform and the 2020 Election. Former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt and other leading experts will provide a nonpartisan analysis of the leading reform proposals to help us understand how these proposals measure up. Review the schedule and RSVP.

Practically every candidate in the 2020 presidential election has spoken about it. No, not the president’s lat­est tweet or even impeachment, but rather health care — or, more specifically, health care reform.

More than just a hot-button political topic, health care is a vital issue that affects all U.S. citizens, most of whom fail to grasp its complexities. The Health Law Program — a UNLV partnership between the William S. Boyd School of Law and the School of Public Health — is out to change that by engaging the community through a series of conferences and guest lectures with  the foremost authorities in the field.

“We want to approach these important issues as ex­perts, rather than as advocates,” says Dr. David Orentli­cher, a Boyd professor, medical doctor, and the director of the Health Law Program. “Our goal is not to promote one view or another, so much as to make sure that peo­ple who attend can become informed and reach a better understanding of the issues. So whether it’s policymak­ers or the public, they can be in a better position to reach their own conclusions.”

Boyd will host the “Health Care Reform and the 2020 Election” conference on March 12. The conference will welcome speakers who will address sev­eral important health policy issues, including how to ex­pand coverage to those who haven’t been reached by the Affordable Care Act. Additionally, experts will examine different proposals and rate them based on how likely they are to succeed in increasing access to health care. Other areas of focus will be the underinsured, who may have coverage but are still unable to afford care, as well as potential safety nets for uninsured individuals who may need to access emergency rooms when they fall ill.

“Health care reform is a leading concern, and we’re seeing the candidates focus on what are the next steps,” says Orentlicher, who co-directs the program with ad­junct professor Max Gakh. “Because voters are going to make [health care] a high priority, we want to make sure we inform them as best we can. Once again, we don’t advocate any position; we’re advocates for best practices. We’re basing policy on the data — not having a particular ideology to promote.”

In the past two years, the Health Law Program has hosted conferences on two other critical health issues: the opioid crisis and cost containment.

The program not only en­lightens Boyd students in the classroom but also provides a consistent, nonpartisan resource for the community. Orentlicher has partnered with such institutions as the Southern Nevada Health District in the effort.

“When we’re trying to choose which speakers to bring in or which conference topic to pick, we think about the issues that are important for the public,” Orentlicher says. “Opioids and health care costs were two big ones.

“That’s why you can’t become bored practicing [health law], because there’s always an important and interest­ing new challenge. Plus, there’s just so much at stake be­cause people’s lives are often on the line. If it’s not their life, it’s their health — so getting it right really matters.

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