In Monday's afternoon breakout session on the constitutional challenges to the ACA, panelist Wendy Mariner joked, "I'm surprised to see such a packed room. I would've thought you'd all have heard enough about this by now." But as we learned yesterday, the health policy landscape for 2012 is full of unknowns, and new challenges pop up at every turn. So it was no surprise that the sessions were all packed, with a rich agenda covering the obstacles for states, the future of military and veterans' health care, and the impact of ACA regulations on the public health systems. One of the most telling statements about the changing health policy landscape came from CMMI's Population Health Models Group Acting Director Jim Hester in the public health plenary:

"The job of improving health cannot only be the job of the public health system. CMS is learning how to be a public health agency."
The public health plenary panelists explored the tranformation of care and the new roles of agencies in a post-ACA world, and we'll be covering that session more in-depth on the blog later this week. While participants seemed to agree in yesterday's sessions that challenges are plentiful and unpredictable, there was a lot of optimism and excitement about the opportunities for innovation in this changing environment. Today's sessions will build upon the discussions started yesterday, with insights from congressional staffers and the media, a look at evaluating quality, and a focus on health care as an economic engine. Follow us on Twitter for live coverage @nhpc and #nhpc12).