Health Care, Infrastructure Concerns of Business Leaders at Griffin Jobs Conference

by Mark Carter  on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011 4:12 pm  

Business leaders who attended U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin's Second District Jobs Conference on Wednesday talked about the need for consumers to have more "skin in the game" regarding health-care reform and committing to infrastructure as a driver of economic development.

Griffin, a freshman Republican from Little Rock, invited more than 60 panelists representing public and private interests in the Second District to the all-day event.

Discussions focused on:

  • Agriculture, energy and the environment
  • Health care
  • Aerospace, transportation and infrastructure
  • Education, manufacturing and technology
  • Real estate, retail and financial services

The goal? Identify obstacles facing job creators, opportunities for creating jobs in Arkansas and public policies to encourage private-sector job creation.

Griffin called President Barack Obama's jobs package, defeated last week in Congress, an "elixir that's not going to fix the economy."

Griffin said that while addressing infrastructure needs represents an important economic driver, "we can't be under the illusion that's all we need to do to fix the economy."

Griffin said Americans don't expect Congress to balance the budget or fix any problems overnight. "But they need to know you're on the right trajectory," he said. "There's no plan in place on that right now."

Health Care

Griffin said he wanted the conference to create a conversation with "job creators" over how to create local jobs in the current economic environment. Any such debate, he stressed, must include health care.

"All employers are impacted by health care," he said. "The broad issue of health care is important to all job creators, and health care has to be addressed if we're going to address our rising deficit."

Health-care panelists included:

  • Dan Rahn, chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
  • David Berry, senior vice president and COO at Arkansas Children's Hospital.
  • Arkansas Surgeon General Joe Thompson.

Also represented on the health-care panel were Baptist Health, St. Vincent Health Systems, QualChoice, Community Health Centers of Arkansas, Arkansas Surgical Hospital, Stephens Insurance, the Arkansas Nurses Association, USA Drug, the central Arkansas IHOP franchise and DataPath.



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