This presentation examined the assumptions underlying the United States’ $3.3 trillion annual health expenditures and explore why this huge investment fails to produce better health outcomes for Americans. Elena Marks, a Baker Institute nonresident fellow and president and CEO of the Episcopal Health Foundation, made the case that we have confused health care with health, leading us to assume that the more we invest in health care, the healthier we will be. Research shows that of the factors that determine health status — as measured by the quality and quantity of life — health care only accounts for 10 to 20 percent, yet we commit over 95 percent of our national health expenditures to health care. Marks provided examples of how a redirection of dollars is taking shape and offered suggestions for accelerating this important system change.
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8:00 am — Breakfast
8:30 am — Presentation
Elena M. Marks, J.D., M.P.H., is the president and chief executive officer of the Episcopal Health Foundation, a $1.3 billion nonprofit based in Houston, Texas. The foundation works to improve the health and well-being of the 11 million people of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, which covers 57 counties in east, southeast and central Texas and includes Austin, Houston, Beaumont, Lufkin, Tyler, Waco and Bryan-College Station. Marks is also a nonresident fellow in health policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, where her work focuses on health reform and access to care for low-income and uninsured populations. She serves on the boards of Grantmakers in Health, the largest national organization in the field of health philanthropy; Harris Health System, an integrated health delivery system serving over 300,000 patients annually; and Community Health Choice, a nonprofit community-based health insurance company with over 400,000 members. Her previous professional experience includes serving as the director of health and environmental policy for the City of Houston, consulting in the health care industry with large systems and community-based providers, starting and directing a successful legal placement firm, and practicing trial and appellate law with major Texas law firms. Marks holds a bachelor’s degree from Emory University, a law degree from The University of Texas School of Law, and a Master of Public Health from The University of Texas School of Public Health.