American Hospital Association President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Umbdenstock challenged a keynote speakers comments at the AHAs leadership summit in San Diego that comprehensive healthcare reform isnt within reach.
Its not good enough to say that it cant get done because its too important not to, Umbdenstock said in an interview.
Earlier in the conference, Bob Schieffer, CBS News chief Washington correspondent, in a keynote address waxed negative on the prospects for comprehensive health reform. I dont think its going to happen, said the Face the Nation host, alluding to Congress ability to organize itself and pass bipartisan reform.
Umbdenstock disagreed. While I respect Schieffers knowledge of the political scene, the reality is, you have to think of this in the broader context of whats taking place in the national economy, he said.
He expects the presidential candidates at their respective national conventions to address healthcare reform with a broad brush, focusing on the three major healthcare drivers: cost, quality and access. The AHAs healthcare agenda is somewhat more specific: coverage for all, wellness, quality, cost and affordability and improved information technology, Umbdenstock said.
You cant just do coverage as an agenda item, he said, adding that all of the healthcare priorities on the AHAs wish list are equally important. -- by Jennifer Lubell
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