Chip Kahn, president and CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals, discusses the draft deficit commission report and reform after the midterm elections.
Chip Kahn: I don't think that the report that came out the other day—the draft of the two chairs—is likely to be approved by the entire commission. The bar is just too high in terms of the number of commissioners they need to have. I think in itself is an interesting outline. Something will have to be done over time about all spending—the fiscal situation of the country—and health will be a part of that I expect. But I think the specifics of the report at this time are just not ready for prime time, and I'm worried in terms of those specifics that some of them may not be respecting the needs of the public, patients, the expectations of Medicare beneficiaries and how hospitals and other providers and clinicians will be treated under the program. So at this point, I don't want to say it's dead on arrival, but I think it's clearly at best a work in progress.
You know it's my expectation that there'll be a lot of noise next year. Clearly the House will have a repeal vote, but at the end of the day, my expectation is that the health reform will stand. The president is unlikely to sign any bill that materially changes the major parts of health reform. And we'll see health reform in the end implemented. There could be in 2012 in the presidential election, the first election that's really about health reform, and depending on how the election comes out, things could change. But my expectation right now is that we'll see 2014 a new expansion of coverage and more Americans covered.
In the health reform bill, there's a provision that prospectively does away with the whole hospital exception. In a sense, it does away with the ability to have the kind of arrangements that you saw in physician-owned specialty hospitals. And I think it will stand. It's the law of the land.
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