Original Press Release
Health Care, Skills Gap, Card Check Top Agenda of State Associations Group on 100th Anniversary
Press release date: May 10, 2007
The issues of health care reform, shrinking the skills gap and stopping card check legislation were the central policy focus of the National Industrial Council State Associations Group (SAG) annual meeting at the NAM headquarters in Washington, D.C. this week.
In his keynote address, NAM President John Engler praised the contributions of SAG members in raising the voice of the manufacturing community (image) . Engler pointed to victories on offshore energy, the R&D tax credit and other pro-manufacturing tax issues and legal reform at the end of the 109th Congress and encouraged members to keep up their vigilance on the issues confronting manufacturers this year, including card check legislation, health care and lobbying reform.
The meeting continued with Andrew Croshaw, senior executive advisor to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael O Leavitt, who joined Francois de Brantes, COO of the eHealth Initiative, to discuss current approaches to value-based health care. The two outlined approaches to increase access and reduce costs while improving health quality through information technology and data transparency. John Gay and Kelly Benedetti of the National Restaurant Association shared their ideas for helping companies and their employees achieve better care, lower costs and expanded access without mandates.
SAG members also heard from members of the Administration, including Raymond Simon, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, who offered insight on the Administration's development of policies, recommendations and initiatives that help define a broad, coherent vision for achieving the goals of the No Child Left Behind Act.
Congressional guests Adam Putnam (R-FL) and Allen Boyd (D-FL) joined the conference on Tuesday to provide a congressional perspective (image) . Putman, chairman of the House Republican Conference, provided an update on the progress of the Republican legislative agenda and the status of critical issues including health care reform and immigration. Boyd, co-chair of the Blue Dog Coalition and champion for legal reform, spoke about how NAM members can work productively with this influential group of fiscally conservative Democrats in Congress.
Brian Hayes, top Republican staff member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, discussed the status of the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act and strategies for defeating it.
To preview issues and trends affecting the 2008 elections, noted political pollster John Zogby discussed the upcoming elections, key races and what issues are likely to shape the political agenda this year and next.
Chaired by SAG Chair Jack Stewart (president, California Manufacturers & Technology Association) (image) , the conference also included presentations by Simon Rosenberg of NDN Ryan Augsburger of the Ohio Manufacturers Association, NAM policy experts and representatives of the NAM's Manufacturing Institute and Center for Workforce Success. The annual meeting was organized by Barry Buzby, executive director of the SAG.