Sen. Bennet keynote

Sunday, November 01, 2015 11:15 AM
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U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet headlines AMA/COMPAC luncheon

by Kate Alfano, CMS Communications Coordinator

Sen. Michael Bennet

Sen. Michael Bennet engages physicians on health care issues as the keynote speaker at the AMA/COMPAC luncheon.

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet was the honored keynote speaker at the 145th CMS Annual Meeting AMA-COMPAC luncheon in Breckenridge. He spoke about current health care politics, the state-federal working relationship and other issues important to physicians, answered many questions from the audience and asked many questions of his own. The interactive discussion was well received.

Sen. Bennet was elected United States Senator for Colorado in November 2010. He is a member of the Senate committees on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; and Finance. Before his appointment to the Senate in 2009 and subsequent election to a full six-year term in 2010, he served as superintendent of Denver Public Schools. Prior to that time, he served as chief of staff to then-Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and as managing director at the Anschutz Investment Company.

This was the second time Sen. Bennet addressed annual meeting attendees and he expressed his gratitude for the invitation. (U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner was also invited but unable to attend.)

While introducing Sen. Bennet, COMPAC chair Mark Johnson, MD, called for a round of applause for the senator’s high achievements, in particular for his work to push through repeal of the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. “We want to honor and congratulate Sen. Bennet for his success in getting the SGR repealed. We have been involved in lobbying the Hill for this result for many years.”

Bennet greeting

Sen. Michael Bennet engages physicians on health care issues as the keynote speaker at the AMA/COMPAC luncheon.

The SGR was originally put in place to control spending by Medicare on physician services. Congress voted 17 times for short-term fixes and he was a sitting senator for 11 of those votes. “I think it’s safe to say that all of you at some point have reached out to me about our favorite perennial issue, fixing the SGR,” Sen. Bennet said.

“You helped shape the law that will move us away from the current fee-for-service system to one that rewards quality over quantity and while it’s never easy to make these changes, Colorado has always been ahead of the curve.”

“Your organization’s involvement in alternative payment models – medical home, accountable care organizations – will make the transition easier,” Sen. Bennet said. “So on behalf of patients all over Colorado, I really want to say thank you. The Colorado Medical Society has always had an innovative and collaborative approach to these issues and I would encourage all of you to continue working with our office to make sure that as the law is implemented, it’s done in the right way.”

“I know many of you will miss talking about the SGR,” he joked, “but thankfully we have more than enough problems in health care to discuss.”

He encouraged members to continue reaching out to him on any issue, particularly if something reported on cable television or seen while watching the floor of the senate doesn’t make sense. “There is no need to accept the political conversation or discussion or fight that we’re having in Washington, DC.”

Posted in: Colorado Medicine | Initiatives | Advocacy


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