More than 20 health systems sign statement
supporting Medicaid expansion, gains made under the ACA

Washington, D.C. (March 6, 2017) – The leaders of several prominent health systems gathered today in the nation’s capital for “Too Much to Lose: Protecting Patients, Protecting Progress in Health Care,” a panel discussion highlighting innovation made possible by coverage expansions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The ACA has driven both significant improvements in care and important innovations in how health systems deliver that care. As Congress contemplates repeal, those gains are at risk and health system leaders from across the country are concerned that a hasty repeal, with cuts to Medicaid and without an adequate plan for replacement, could severely disrupt systems and hurt patients.

More than 20 national health system leaders have signed a strong consensus statement calling for policies to protect and continue robust coverage, quality improvement and a continued drive towards high-value comprehensive, coordinated care. The full statement is available below and online.

A Distinguished Panel on the Front Lines of Health Care

Featured health system leaders at the “Too Much To Lose” event in DC included:

  • Glenn Crotty, Jr., MD, executive vice president & COO at the Charleston Area Medical Center Health System (Charleston, WV);
  • Timothy Ferris, MD, senior vice president for Population Health Management at Partners HealthCare (Boston, MA);
  • Shelly Schlenker, vice president of Public Policy, Advocacy and Government Relations for Dignity Health (headquartered in San Francisco, CA); and
  • Steven M. Safyer, MD, president & CEO at Montefiore Medical Center (Bronx, NY)

Thought leaders David Blumenthal, MD, president of The Commonwealth Fund, and

Donald Berwick, MD, president emeritus and senior fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), also spoke.

Preserving health coverage provided through Medicaid expansion and continuing federal funding for that expansion are key components of health systems’ ability to deliver better care. A recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that the vast majority of respondents (84 percent) say it is either “very” or “somewhat” important for any replacement plan to ensure that states continue to receive federal funds to expand Medicaid, including 84 percent of Independents and 69 percent of Republicans.

Too Much to Lose: Protecting Patients, Protecting Progress in Health Care,” was sponsored by the Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation (a center of Community Catalyst), The Commonwealth Fund, Missouri Foundation for Health and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

Follow the conversation on Twitter at: #ProtectInnovation



*** Health System Leaders on Protecting Innovation and Coverage***

“Thanks to Medicaid and CHIP, 36 million children in America – nearly half of all kids – have access to insurance coverage and good medical care. Our country needs these children to become healthy adults who will lead, drive and secure our future. As such, we must protect Medicaid for kids and reauthorize CHIP.”

– Michael Fisher, President and CEO for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital (Cincinnati, OH)

“I urge HHS Secretary Price and Congress to be mindful of the importance of access to affordable, high quality and safe health care for all Americans. As they focus on the Affordable Care Act, I encourage them to make decisions for the long-term, best interests of everyone. They should focus on fundamentals of health care, including adequate access, appropriate care, value and transparency, all of which are necessary for positive outcomes and excellent patient experiences. Health care policy deserves priority and thoughtful attention from our elected officials, because health care is essential to the quality of life for all Americans.”

– Gary S. Kaplan, MD, Chairman and CEO, Virginia Mason Health System (Seattle, WA)

“Colorado’s Medicaid expansion had a major positive effect on the state’s economy, the financial health of the providers, especially the safety net providers, and most importantly the health of individual people. To be poor is a burden; to be poor and sick is overwhelming; to be poor, sick and unable to get care is a tragedy—a tragedy that has been ameliorated to a significant degree by the ACA Medicaid expansion. None of us would want to find ourselves at that place, so let us not now abandon our fellow Americans who in past found themselves there.”

– Patricia A. Gabow, MD, MACP, Retired CEO of Denver Health (Denver, CO)

“While the ACA is not perfect, it’s moved our nation forward in two critical ways. It has extended health care coverage to over 20 million people, many of whom are poor and vulnerable. In doing so, the ACA has shone a bright light on the moral problem of uninsured Americans while reducing their percentage to a historical low. It’s also expedited necessary reforms in the way health care is structured, paid for and delivered. Through various initiatives and alternative payment models, U.S. health care is shifting to a value-based system that rewards insurers and providers for improving health outcomes and reducing costs through safe, evidence-based care in appropriate settings. Any repair or replacement of the ACA must ensure that progress in these two critical areas continues.”

– Michael Panicola, PhD, Senior Vice President – Mission, Legal & Government Affairs, SSM Health (St. Louis, MO)

“The Affordable Care Act has enabled us, not only to care for everyone who needs it – the importance of which cannot be overstated – but also to get better at it. Under the ACA, we are evolving to focus more on patient outcomes to create a better, more efficient health system. What Congress is doing, could stall that work indefinitely, bringing us back to a system no one wants, rather than forward to the system everyone needs.” 

– Kate Walsh, President and CEO, Boston Medical Center (Boston, MA)

“Medicaid expansion has enabled Dignity Health to initiate pilot programs with managed Medicaid plans that improve quality and address social determinants of health. As the largest private Medi-Cal provider in California, we know that one in three adults is insured by Medicaid. Without the expansion, most Medicaid beneficiaries will revert back to having no insurance, forgoing services and accessing care through emergency rooms. They will receive less preventive and coordinated care and we will have a more limited ability to advance innovative care models.”

– Shelly Schlenker, Vice President of Public Policy, Advocacy and Government Relations for Dignity Health (San Francisco, CA)

“It can be difficult for people outside of health care to appreciate how long it takes to make significant improvements in the delivery of care. When you are taking care of patients, you have to be very careful when you make changes. Through the Affordable Care Act’s alternative payment models, we have begun to see some powerful change through strong initiatives going on around the country that are really innovative and much more efficient.”

– Timothy Ferris, MD, Senior Vice President for Population Health Management for Partners HealthCare (Boston, MA)

“Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) our nations’ hospitals, physicians, nurses and the rest of the healthcare team have generated significant improvements in our care to patients, even helping the GBMC HealthCare System to reduce the total cost of care for Medicare beneficiaries by 7.5 percent. The ACA, in my opinion, has been very successful as more than 10 million Americans now have health insurance who did not have it before. We in the GBMC HealthCare System must put the rhetoric aside, ignore the distractions, redouble our efforts and continue our quest to better health and better care to our patients with the least waste and the most joy for those providing the care.”

– John B. Chessare, MD, President & CEO, GBMC HealthCare System (Baltimore, MD)



Consensus Statement and Signatories

“Repealing the ACA without a replacement plan in place that keeps people covered with affordable, high-quality insurance will severely disrupt important progress in improving the quality and reducing the cost of care.

“Nobody can have high quality care if they can’t get care in the first place. The ACA’s expansion of coverage, including a Medicaid program with comprehensive benefits, is an essential component of those efforts.

“We urge all policy makers to ensure – particularly for low-income individuals, children and families – that robust coverage, quality improvement, and a focus on continuing to drive the movement towards high value, comprehensive, and coordinated care remain at the heart of our American health care policies.”

  • Association of American Medical Colleges Darrell G. Kirch, MD, President & CEO
  • Baylor Scott and White Health – Joel Allison, Former CEO
  • Boston Children’s Hospital  – Sandra L. Fenwick, President & CEO
  • Boston Medical Center Kate Walsh, President & CEO
  • Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers Jeffrey Brenner, MD, Executive Director
  • Catholic Health Association of the United States Sister Carol Keehan, DC, President & CEO
  • Charleston Area Medical Center – Glenn Crotty, Jr. MD Executive Vice President & COO
  • Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center – Michael Fisher, President & CEO
  • Coastal Medical – G. Alan Kurose, MD, President & CEO
  • Dignity Health – Lloyd Dean, President & CEO | Shelly Schlenker, Vice President of Public Policy, Advocacy and Government Relations
  • GBMC HealthCare System – John B. Chessare, MD, President & CEO
  • Institute for Healthcare Improvement – Derek Feeley, President & CEO
  • Iora Health Rushika Fernandopulle, MD, Co-founder & CEO
  • McLeod Health – Rob Colones, President & CEO
  • Montefiore Medicine – Steven M. Safyer, MD, President & CEO
  • MUSC Health System – Patrick J. Cawley, MD, MBA, FACHE, CEO
  • NYC Health + Hospitals – Stanley Brezenoff, Interim President and CEO
  • Partners HealthCare Timothy Ferris, MD, Senior Vice President for Population Health Management
  • SSM Health – Bill Thompson, President & CEO | Michael Panicola, Senior Vice President of Mission, Legal & Government Affairs | Sister Mary Jean Ryan, Former Board Chair, President & CEO
  • Sutter Health – Sarah Krevans, President & CEO
  • Trinity Health Livonia, MI – Richard J. Gilfillan, MD, President & CEO
  • UMass Memorial Health Care – Eric Dickson, MD, President & CEO
  • UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) Diane P. Holder, Executive Vice President
  • Virginia Mason Health System – Gary Kaplan, MD, Chairman & CEO




Jack Cardinal

(781) 960-5208 


Elliott Walker

(917) 846-6334


About The Commonwealth Fund

The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation that aims to promote a high performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society’s most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, minority Americans, young children, and elderly adults.

The Fund carries out this mandate by supporting independent research on health care issues and making grants to improve health care practice and policy. An international program in health policy is designed to stimulate innovative policies and practices in the United States and other industrialized countries. For more information, please visit

About the Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation

The Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation at Community Catalyst is a hub devoted to teaching, learning and sharing knowledge to bring the consumer experience to the forefront of health innovation in order to deliver better care, better value and better health for every community, particularly vulnerable and historically underserved populations. The Center’s work is supported through investments in state and local advocacy, leadership development, research and evaluation, and consultative services to delivery systems and health plans. Visit or follow us on Twitter @CCEHI to learn more and follow our work.

About Missouri Foundation for Health

Our mission: to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities most in need.

Missouri Foundation for Health is a resource for the region, working with communities and nonprofits to generate and accelerate positive changes in health. As a catalyst for change, MFH improves the health of Missourians through partnership, experience, knowledge, and funding. The Foundation takes a multifaceted approach to health issues, understanding that programs, policy, and collaboration all play a role in creating lasting impact. An independent philanthropic foundation, MFH was created in the year 2000, following Blue Cross Blue Shield of Missouri’s conversion from nonprofit to for-profit status. It is the largest organization of its kind in the state and among the largest in the country.  For more information, please visit

About The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI)

IHI is a leader in health and health care improvement worldwide. For more than 25 years, we have partnered with visionaries, leaders, and front-line practitioners around the globe to spark bold, inventive ways to improve the health of individuals and populations. Recognized as an innovator, convener, trustworthy partner, and driver of results, we are the first place to turn for expertise, help, and encouragement for anyone, anywhere who wants to change health and health care profoundly for the better. Learn more at