IBC President and CEO Joseph A. Frick Participates in Life Sciences and Health Care Summit
Philadelphia, PA - August 19, 2009 - Independence Blue Cross (IBC) today participated in a summit hosted by Cherokee Pharmaceuticals in Riverside, PA, to discuss the importance of the life sciences and the health care industry in the state's economy, and the impact national health care reform is likely to have on these important business sectors.
IBC's president and CEO Joseph A. Frick joined corporate leaders from the Milken Institute, Temple University School of Medicine, Merck Manufacturing Division, Geisinger Medical System, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, University of Pittsburg Medical Center, and Cherokee Pharmaceuticals for a panel discussion moderated by NBC 10s Renee Chenault Fattah.
The event, which was attended by more than 200 business executives from across the state, featured two keynote speakers: Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, Jr. and Dr. Howard Koh, assistant U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services. Dr. Koh framed the key issues in the national health care debate.
Senator Casey is a member of the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, one of five committees in Congress drafting health care reform legislation. He discussed his strong support of reform and said he favors reform legislation that includes a new government-run plan, called a "public option," to increase choice for consumers.
Senator Casey also outlined the economic challenges currently faced by many of Pennsylvania's rural communities, and said that the decline of life sciences and health industries has been a contributing factor. He urged revitalizing these industries to grow the economy in rural communities.
Frick said that IBC fully supports health care reform that reduces the cost of health care, improves quality, and provides coverage to more Americans. Health plans are already leading the way to improve the quality and contain the cost of health care by simplifying administration, focusing on disease management and health prevention, and expanding health information technology, he said.
"The United States spends more on health care than other industrialized nations, but we're not any healthier for it," said Frick. "That's why we've come to the table with hospitals, doctors, and other stakeholders to support health care reform. We need to fix what's broken without breaking what is working."
"Without question, health care reform will have a significant affect on the future vitality of our region," Frick said. He noted that while southeastern Pennsylvania is an urban area, it is a vibrant region for the life sciences and health care industry and that 15 percent of all economic activity and one out of every six jobs in Greater Philadelphia can be traced back to the life sciences or health care.
About Independence Blue Cross
Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. Nationwide, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.3 million people. For more than 70 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross's HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance.
Independence Blue Cross supports comprehensive health care reform that would extend coverage to all Americans, reduce costs, and improve quality. We also advocate reform that builds on the current employer-based system that currently serves 170 million Americans. Learn more about our views on health care legislation now working its way through Congress by visiting our website at www.ibx.com/about_ibc/health_care_reform.
Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
About Cherokee Pharmaceuticals
Cherokee Pharmaceuticals LLC, a PRWT Services, Inc. company, is a bulk chemical manufacturing and distribution company producing active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and providing fermentation capabilities, as well as process development, analytical laboratory testing, fine chemical sourcing, and supply-chain value-added services. Cherokee is the country's first and only minority-owned outsourced API provider.