Swedish Minister for Health and Social Affairs G?ran H?glund Speaks at Health Care Seminar at SAIS in Washington, D.C.

G?ran H?glund, Swedish Minister for Health and Social Affairs, during the seminar - G?ran H?glund, Swedish Minister for Health and Social Affairs, during the seminar – “Financial Tomorrow’s Health Care. Challenges and Solutions” — at SAIS on Monday evening.

A SEMINAR FOCUSING on “Financing Tomorrow’s Health Care. Challenges and Solutions” at the acclaimed Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) earlier this week brought together G?ran H?glund, the Swedish Minister for Health and Social Affairs; Harry C. McPherson, Jr., who served as counsel and special counsel to President Lyndon B. Johnson from 1965-1969; and Abdo S. Yazbeck, Lead Health Economist at the World Bank,. The moderator was Mark Plotkin, political commentator and analyst at WTOP Radio.

ACCORDING TO the panelists, the financing of health care works differently in various countries, but many of the challenges are similar. In fact, balancing rising costs with the health care needs of a growing older population seems to be a common issue. Mr. H?glund talked about the Swedish health care system, which is government financed. He said the goal, when it comes to financing, is how to “produce the best result for the lowest cost.”

Harry C. McPherson, Jr., who served as counsel and special counsel to President Lyndon B. Johnson from 1965-1969, and G?ran H?glund, Swedish Minister for Health and Social Affairs Harry C. McPherson, Jr., who served as counsel and special counsel to President Lyndon B. Johnson from 1965-1969, and G?ran H?glund, Swedish Minister for Health and Social Affairs, during a seminar at The Center for Transatlantic Relations, SAIS, on Monday evening.

MR. MCPHERSON TALKED about how President Lyndon Johnson managed to introduce Medicare and Medicaid, despite heavy resistance from the Republicans, a situation similar to President Obama’s problems to introduce health care reform.

MR. YAZBECK talked about the difficulties with a competitive insurance system. He stated that it “basically doesn’t work in health care.” The reason is the unwillingness to insure those who are likely to be sick. He thought that eventually a single payer system would pass in the U.S. — “because it has to” for financial reasons.

“THE ONE AREA where the U.S. is best in health care is for people over 65,” said Mr. Yazbeck. “Of course, this is the only population in the U.S. that is covered by a government single-payer health care system.”

THE SEMINAR WAS sponsored by SNS, the Swedish independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Swedish decision makers make informed decisions based on science and factual analysis, and The Center for Transatlantic Relations, a SAIS research center that engages opinion leaders on contemporary challenges facing Europe and North America.

GoranHagglund.SAIS.20111024 003.JPGHarry McPherson, who served as counsel and special counsel to President Lyndon B. Johnson from 1965-1969, and G?ran H?glund, Swedish Minister for Health and Social Affairs

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