The second in a series of Regional White House Forums on Health Reform took place today in Burlington, Vermont. The forum was hosted by the University of Vermont and was moderated by Governor Jim Douglas of Vermont and Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts. Nancy-Ann DeParle, Director of the White House Office of Health Reform, represented the Obama administration. Forum participants included doctors, patients, providers, insurers, policy experts and health care advocates of all kinds both Democrats and Republicans who discussed the urgent need to provide high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans, and to curb skyrocketing health care costs that are draining our federal and state budgets, devastating families and small businesses, and undermining our long-term economic prosperity. Today s forum was a tremendous success, said Governor Douglas. The discussion was very helpful and with so many viewpoints represented, I know the White House will come away from this with many good ideas for how we build a more affordable and effective healthcare system in America. In keeping with the Obama administration s commitment to an open, inclusive, and transparent process for health reform, the forum brought together a diverse group of people to voice their concerns and ideas on reforming our health care system. Health care reform in Massachusetts has become a national model with more than 97% of residents insured in just two years, said Governor Patrick. But affordability is still a big challenge and we need payment reform and better cost containment across America to make healthcare truly available for all. Vermont, like Massachusetts, is a model for the rest of the nation, Governor Douglas continued. Our Blueprint for Health, Green Mountain Healthcare products and our Chronic Care Initiative are all programs that will help us bring down the cost of healthcare and lead healthier lives. We really appreciate the opportunity to share these programs with the rest of the country.And Nancy-Ann DeParle represented the Obama Administration. Today we continued our important national conversation on health reform, DeParle said. Exploding costs are bankrupting families and burdening businesses, dragging down state and local budgets, and piling up our national debt. The time to act is now.Regional White House Forums on Health Reform will also be held in Iowa, North Carolina, and California throughout the rest of March and early April. Anyone interested in participating in the discussion can visit www.HealthReform.gov(link is external) to submit their questions.
More are set to follow, with Liverpool well down the line in negotiations for Sporting Lisbon defender Tiago Ilori, while they are trying to hammer out a complicated deal for £20million-rated Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Henrik Mkhitaryan. But the fact a bulk of the business has already been done – not taking into account striker Luis Suarez who is publicly courting a move to Real Madrid – will be advantageous to Rodgers, according to Ayre. “It’s always important. It’s not always possible but it’s always important,” said the managing director. “Particularly from the playing perspective, the manager and the coaches and all of the staff want to know that they’ve got the squad together, particularly ahead of pre-season. “We’ve worked tirelessly, a lot of people behind the scenes worked ahead of the transfer window to identify those players that interest us. Then the hard work starts, negotiating and bringing these deals together.” Liverpool were able to confirm the Aspas deal on Sunday after personal issues with his agents were sorted over the weekend. The 25-year-old scored 12 goals in 34 league matches as Celta Vigo avoided relegation on the last day of the season. By then a deal had already been lined up for a fee in the region of £7.7million. “It wasn’t a tough decision at all. I’m really happy to have come to a big club like this one,” said the Spaniard. “Having weighed up all my options for this window, a massive club like Liverpool was always my first choice.” Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre believes the early identification and capture of transfer targets gives the club a boost ahead of the squad’s return to pre-season training. Press Association Press Association Sport understands Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet will attend the Reds’ Melwood training ground on Tuesday for a medical before finalising personal terms on an £11million-plus transfer agreed on Friday. The Belgium international will be manager Brendan Rodgers’ fourth signing before the end of June after previous deals for Manchester City defender Kolo Toure, Sevilla midfielder Luis Alberto and Celta Vigo’s Iago Aspas.