The United States has one of the highest costs of healthcare with health spending at 17.4% of its GDP. Even among those who have access to healthcare, satisfaction with the quality, cost and coverage is low. A recent Gallup showed that: 47% of Americans rated healthcare quality in U.S. negatively, two-thirds rated healthcare coverage negatively and fewer than one in four were satisfied with the cost of healthcare. The health care ecosystem consists of many players and layers, including people receiving the care, care providers, suppliers and developers of medical devices and drugs, physicians, insurance companies, state and federal government, and hospitals among others. Clearly, there are many resource constraints in providing a decent level of health care to all.
How then can we move towards a coverage that ensures everyone has a ‘reasonable’ minimum level of coverage at an affordable cost? How do we reconcile equality with quality and efficiency? How can we keep health related technological innovation growing? What are some innovative solutions? What is the role of government—of the private for and not for profit sectors? The 2016 Elfenworks Conference on Healthcare addressed these and other issues.
Inequality in societies that arise from wide variations in access to resources has been linked with many social problems such as physical and mental illness, incarceration, fragmented families and communities, teenage pregnancies and a significant loss of potential talent in the workplace. Many have also linked current income inequality levels to slow economic recovery from the Great Recession. It has also been linked to inadequate labor productivity (and some sector shortages of qualified employees) due to uneven educational preparation. U.S. Deputy Labor Secretary, Chris Lu, Keynotes the discussion on income inequality.
Experts from Wells Fargo, BlackRock and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board headlined an insightful panel discussion on what constitutes "responsible investing" and how interested investors should approach it. Panelists Lloyd Kurtz, Doug Park and Chad Spitler shared their knowledge with students and guests.
The Third Global Economic Forum featured distinguished panelist including, Dr. Peter Graf, chief sustainability officer and executive vice president of SAP, who oversees strategy and innovation for sustainability solutions and operations; Michael E. Fox, Jr., president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Silicon Valley, a not-for-profit organization that provides job training, employment placement services and other community-based programs for people who have a disability, lack education or job experience, or face employment challenges; and Kapil Sharma, senior general manager of Tata Sons--North America, the $90 billion Indian multinational conglomerate that operates in more than 80 countries with a global workforce of over 425,000.
BlackRock is the world's largest provider of investment, advisory and risk management services, with assets under management of about 3.4 trillion. The panel discussion featured Michelle Edkins, global head of corporate governance & responsible investment, who leads a team of 20 specialists based in five key regions internationally and is responsible for the team’s engagement and proxy voting activities in relation to the companies in which BlackRock invests on behalf of clients; Chad Spitler, global chief operating officer of corporate governance & responsible investment, who is responsible for the daily operations of the team worldwide and strategic planning within the portfolio management group; and Yumi Narita, vice-president and research analyst in the Americas Corporate Governance group.