State Update

ADEA AGR Staff Invited to Attend the National Governors Association Summer Meeting

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ADEA AGR staff received a special invitation by the National Governors Association (NGA) to attend its 2014 Summer Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, from July 10-13. The NGA is the bipartisan organization of the nation’s governors. 

During the NGA’s 2014 Summer Meeting, Vice President Joe Biden addressed the nation’s governors during the opening session. He called on the governors to help break the partisan gridlock in Washington and lead the way in building infrastructure and ensuring that the U.S. has the most highly skilled workforce in the world. Vice President Joe Biden told the governors that the American people want to work and are willing to be retrained to earn a living. 

Vice President Joe Biden ended his remarks by challenging the audience to think outside the box when it comes to education. He noted the possibility of developing a policy which incentivizes colleges and universities to offer the same quality education within a shorter amount of time due to the high cost of higher education. He spotlighted law schools and medical schools as potential candidates for this new policy. 

During the NGA’s Education and Workforce Committee meeting, Gov. Steve Beshear (D-KY), Chair, and Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-NV), Vice Chair, led a discussion regarding the role of education in economic development. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee, spoke about the legislation he is sponsoring titled the Financial Aid Simplification and Transparency Act (FAST Act). The goal of the bill is to simplify the federal financial aid programs and application process. Specifically, the bill would reduce to a single postcard—called the “Student Aid Short Form”—the questions any student must answer to apply for federal financial aid and inform high school students in their junior year of the amount they will receive in federal aid to help pay for college. It would also address the problem of some students borrowing too much money, and simplify the options students have to repay their federal loans. The bill also streamlines federal grant and loan programs to better serve more students more effectively. 

During the NGA’s Health and Human Services Committee meeting, a discussion regarding the future of healthcare was led by Gov. Bill Haslam (R-TN), Chair, and Gov. Peter Shumlin (D-VT), Vice Chair. Brief comments were provided by Andrew Dreyfus, President and Chief Executive Officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield Massachusetts; Tom Latkovic, Director, McKinsey & Company; and Bill Rutherford, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President, Hospital Corporation of America. Speakers noted that states are moving from a fee-for-service model to one that is outcome based, focused on primary care transformation, and centered on value-based patient services. Speakers encouraged the governors to (1) learn from others’ knowledge and experience, (2) participate in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) State Innovation Models (SIM) Initiative, (3) empower state health leaders to consider whole system change, and (4) define and resource a collaborative with a broad set of stakeholders. Finally, speakers reminded the audience that innovation in health care will ultimately play out at the state and local level.

Additionally, during the 2014 NGA Summer Meeting, the NGA announced the new leadership of its Executive Committee for the 2014-15 year. The new NGA Chair Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) and Vice Chair Gov. Gary Herbert (R-UT) will lead the nine-member Executive Committee through which the association’s priorities and activities are determined. Other members include: Gov. Dan Malloy
(D-CT), Gov. Terry Branstad (R-IA), Gov. Mark Dayton (D-MN), Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT), Gov. Pat McCrory (R-NC), Gov. Mary Fallin (R-OK) and Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI).