Healthcare Business News
John D. Thomas, Chief of Editorial Operations, Modern Healthcare

Decision time

Presidential election will finally set the course for healthcare reform

By John D. Thomas
Posted: November 3, 2012 - 12:01 am ET

This editorial went live on the morning of Saturday, Nov. 3, and the print edition in which it appears begins getting to readers Monday, Nov. 5. Talk about terrible timing—given the proximity of Election Day—but sometimes that's the way it goes in the publishing business.

President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010, but his signature was not the law's final stamp of approval; that didn't happen until the U.S. Supreme Court signed off on the law's constitutionality this summer.

Both of those actions hang in the balance and hinge on the results of the Nov. 6 presidential election, which takes place the day after this week's issue of Modern Healthcare comes out.

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Obviously, the Internet has forever changed the rules of publishing, and we will provide immediate feedback on about the fate of the ACA once the election results are in and the next president is named. But this unique aligning of the political planets creates a special kind of pressure for a newsroom given the timing of the election and the timing of our next issue.

Here is what you can expect: We have already lined up, and continue to line up, experts on both sides of the healthcare reform debate who will comment about how the election results will impact what you, and your organization, need to prepare for. If former Gov. Mitt Romney wins, people will have a lot of important questions, and we will be ready to provide answers and insight.

If President Barack Obama earns another term, what's next for implementation of the ACA? So many people, from governors to small-business owners, have been sitting on the sidelines uncommitted about what to do next because of the drastic differences in approaches to healthcare policy between the candidates and Romney's promise to repeal the president's signature legislation.

But the uncertainty is finally about to come to a very dramatic end.

Given the current financial state of healthcare in this country, reform is a given and it will happen. But right now, that's the only given. Where it goes after Nov. 6 is anyone's guess, but we'll know a lot more soon about its direction, which could whipsaw all the way from the president's original blueprint to the partial privatization of Medicare.

All week long after the election, we'll be publishing content online to keep you informed about which way reform is breaking and what it means for healthcare executives and their operations. The major feature story in our Nov. 12 post-election issue will be devoted to the fate and future of the healthcare reform legislation, with in-depth analysis into what you can expect in the short run and the long term.

The two candidates for president in this election have starkly opposing viewpoints about the future direction of healthcare in this country, and very soon we'll know whose direction we'll be following. We'll be analyzing, reporting and commenting on the choice America makes on Nov. 6, but we also need input from our readers and users. The more on-the-ground, practical feedback we get about how the election's outcome will affect your role as a healthcare executive, the better able we will be to examine and answer the most pertinent and important issues facing the entire healthcare field.

It's a stressful time in our newsroom, and it's a stressful time in your boardroom. Healthcare is the issue of the day, and it's about to veer one way or the other. We will be here to help you steer the best possible course.

John D.Thomas, Chief of Editorial Operations

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