Hospital Industry Leader to Know: Chip Kahn

As president of the Federation of American Hospitals, Chip Kahn stands at the forefront of initiatives to affect policy for healthcare quality in the United States. He is an expert on health policy, Medicare payment, healthcare financing, and the uninsured and was named to Becker's Hospital Review's list of "10 Most Powerful People in Healthcare" last year. Currently, he directs a lobbying group that supports access to healthcare coverage by expanding government programs and offering subsidies to those who don't qualify.

Mr. Kahn entered Tulane's health policy program in 1970 and graduated with a master's degree in public health. After graduation, he went on to work as a health policy aide and advisor. In 1986, he served on the House Ways and Means Health subcommittee, where he helped develop the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. As vice president and then president in the 1990s of the Health Insurance Association of America, he played a pivotal role in defeating Hillary and Bill Clinton's healthcare reform efforts with the well-known Harry and Louise ads.

In 2001, Mr. Kahn took his current position as president of the Federation of American Hospitals, a lobbying group that represents investor-owned hospitals. The FAH bet big money on Mr. Kahn's success - $2.3 million, to be exact – and it seems that the bet paid off. Under Mr. Kahn's leadership, hospitals saved money by greatly limiting reductions in their Medicare payments. They also avoided charity-care requirements for tax-exempt hospitals, cuts in indirect medical subsidies, and the control of a rate-setting board for physicians and other providers.

In 2007, Mr. Kahn helped develop a health reform proposal focused on "building on what works in the current system." In 2009, Becker's Hospital Review reported that Mr. Kahn "believes no other aspect of health reform is as important to hospitals as increasing the number of people in America with coverage."

Mr. Kahn currently sits on the governing board of the National Quality Forum and serves as a principal in the Hospital Quality Alliance. In March 2010, he drew attention to hospital support of health care reform legislation by praising President Obama's efforts – a markedly different stance than the one he took in the 1990s.

"Hospitals serve on the front lines of community care and know first-hand how our uninsurance crisis affects individuals and families. This is why we support health reform that works, and why we understand the need for shared sacrifice by accepting Medicare and Medicaid payment reductions," Mr. Kahn said in a statement.

Read more about Becker's Hospital Review's coverage of national healthcare trade association leaders and the American Medical Association.

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