MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 8 -- University of Minnesota issued the following news release:
With comprehensive health reform signed into law by President Obama a little less than six months ago, a high-ranking delegation of health care experts from Minnesota and Washington, D.C. will meet in Berlin, Sept. 14-20, for a seminar on health care policy that compares the U.S. and German systems.
This is the second consecutive year that the University of Minnesota's Center for German and European Studies has organized this trip. This year's focus is on health insurance. The new legislation calls for the creation of state-based health insurance exchanges and Minnesota is positioning itself to maintain its national leadership role by creating an exchange well before the 2014 deadline.
Germany's nonprofit statutory health insurers provide some parallels to what that new Minnesota exchange might look like. Germany has provided high-quality universal health care for its citizens since 1883, when its chancellor Otto von Bismarck established the world's first national health care system.
The 16-member delegation consists of elected and government officials, academics, providers, and consultants who are actively involved in health care reform efforts at the state and federal levels, including:
Sanne Magnan, Minnesota health commissioner
Carol Backstrom, Minnesota assistant health commissioner
Linda Berglin, Scott Dibble, John Marty and Linda Scheid, Minnesota state senators
Joe Atkins, Minnesota state representative
Patrick Geraghty, Blue Cross Blue Shield/Blue Shield Plus of Minnesota president and CEO
Ghita Worcester, Ucare senior vice president
Julie Brunner, Council of Minnesota Health Plans president
Frank Cerra, U of M senior vice president for health sciences
David Jones, Hennepin County Medical Center board chair
Connie Perpich, Planned Parenthood-Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota
Stephen Schondelmeyer, Prime Institute, U of M College of Pharmacy
Steven Sheingold, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The seminar is a special project of the University of Minnesota's Center for German and European Studies and a group of international partners including Germany's Federal Ministry of Health, Germany's Federal Ministry of Economics, the Berlin-based Bundesverband Managed Care and the German Academic Exchange Service.
The interdisciplinary Center for German and European Studies at the University of Minnesota is one of six centers of excellence created in the United States with German government support. Since 2005, it has hosted the annual "American and German Health Care Forum" to foster health policy exchange on best practices between top-level U.S. and German health care experts. Stakeholders from all areas in the health policy field participate. Germany's Federal Ministry of Health is a founding co-operating partner. It is the only such cooperation in the United States.
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