Health Care

Speaker looking forward to health care roundtable

Ron Galloway, an investment adviser turned filmmaker who describes himself as the Huffington Post's only conservative columnist, is looking forward to being the keynote speaker at this year's Health Care Roundtable.

"This event, I think, is going to be really cool because the audience there is so varied," he said by phone earlier this week.

The roundtable brings together employers, insurance professionals and others concerned about health care costs. This year's is Oct. 14.

Galloway, who is based in Georgia, promised that he won't be talking about the politics of health care reform but about "ways the landscape of medicine is shifting before our very eyes."

Health care, he said, "is the most interesting field in business right now" with "a lot of black swans" — unexpected events that have a major impact, such as 9/11 and the advent of the personal computer.

In health care, he sees electronic health records and "distributive medicine" among the black swans.

Electronic health records are more than billing and recordkeeping, he said: They can become a diagnostic tool, as they were when the Department of Veterans Affairs, which has used electronic health records for years, started asking whether Vioxx was safe. If electronic records are mandated, those kinds of uses will help all of medicine, he said.

Distributive medicine means facilities that go to the patient, as Walmart is doing with its in-store clinics, Galloway said. Overall, that's creating more transparency in the delivery of health care, he said — and clearing emergency rooms of patients who shouldn't be there.

Galloway came to public attention with his 2005 documentary, "Why Wal-Mart Works & Why That Makes Some People Crazy." He's working on three more films now, one called "Rebooting Healthcare," one on Goldman Sachs and one on Iceland, which "turned itself into a hedge fund, and the entire country went broke."

He started writing for Huffington Post after complaining about one of its articles and saying he should be allowed to write a response. "They were like, OK, and they liked it," he said.

Now, "I'm their little conservative bad boy. I'm like the only conservative they allow on there. They like it, because it draws traffic, and I'm clearly not preaching to the choir."

Galloway, who was in the investment business for 20 years, has been on the speaking circuit for the past few and said he never gives the same speech twice "because things change so fast." At least 15 percent of his speech will have to be new by the time he gets to Wichita, he said.