Medical School Discussion Tonight to Shed Light on Universal Health Coverage

Issue Date: 
January 16, 2007

As escalating costs force more Americans to go without health insurance, the need to address this issue becomes increasingly urgent.

To shed light on the many aspects of universal health coverage, Pitt’s School of Medicine will host a panel discussion featuring representatives from the local medical, academic, and business communities.

The free public discussion, “Approaches to Achieving Universal Health Coverage in America,” is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 16 in Scaife Hall’s Auditorium 6. No preregistration is necessary.

Universal coverage often dominates discussions of potential healthcare reforms, with proponents arguing that such a system is necessary to ensure that all Americans get health care, and critics cautioning that universal coverage would result in inefficient governmental controls that would keep patients from getting even basic recommended treatments. Heated rhetoric often overshadows more objective information about universal health coverage that could help members of the healthcare community and the public reach their own conclusions.

The Pitt medical school event presents an opportunity for the public to learn more about a topic that is expected to take center stage in coming months, when legislators at the state and national levels debate health- care reform.

The program is as follows:

“Universal Health Care Without a Single Payer: Oxymoron or Best Hope?”

David Blandino, Pitt clinical associate professor of family medicine and chair of UPMC Shadyside Hospital’s Department of Family and Community Medicine;

“Single Payer: Guaranteeing the Fundamental Right to Health Care in America.”

Barry Tepperman, attending radiation oncologist, Allegheny General Hospital;

“Universal Health Care: How Shall We Share the Costs?”

Judith R. Lave, professor and chair, Health Policy and Management, Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH); and “Universal Health Care: Legislative Solutions.” Scott Tyson, CEO, Pediatrics South, and a member of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Medical Executive Committee.

Additional commentators will include Terence Starz, president of the Allegheny County Medical Society and a Pitt clinical professor of medicine, who will present the perspective of organized medicine; Julie Donohue, assistant professor of health policy and management in GSPH, who will provide information on health policy aspects of universal coverage; and Pitt medical student Gabriel Silverman, who will comment from the student viewpoint. Rohan Ganguli, Pitt professor of psychiatry, pathology, and health and community systems in the Pitt medical school, will moderate the discussion.

Healthcare professionals in attendance will be eligible to earn continuing education credits.

For additional information on this event, visit

Because of a Pitt men’s basketball game at the Petersen Events Center this evening, participants are encouraged to arrive early to avoid traffic and parking congestion.