Modern Healthcare reporters are tracking healthcare leaders' reaction to President Barack Obama's re-election and what the election means for the healthcare industry, which finally has certainty that the bulk of the Patient and Protection and Affordable Care Act will be implemented yet little clue how the president and a still-divided Congress will treat healthcare programs in their quest to control federal spending. Modern Healthcare will continue to update this page throughout the week.
Dr. Delos "Toby" Cosgrove, president and CEO, Cleveland Clinic (interview): “I don't think there is any question that we have a healthcare bill and the healthcare bill won't be repealed. It's incumbent on us as providers to figure out efficiencies."
Anya Rader Wallack, chair, Green Mountain Care Board, which is responsible for establishing a single-payer health plan in Vermont (interview): “We've been actively implementing the ACA and this is good for us (Vermont) in the sense that we know now we can continue on in the path that we've been moving on with greater certainty that we have a federal partner. … The outcome of the election affects more the short-term planning around the interim steps before we get to Green Mountain Care.”
Warner Thomas, president and CEO, Ochsner Health System, New Orleans (interview): “We have more certainty about what's going to happen. We did not change anything (ahead of the election), we just continued down the same path understanding the healthcare reform bill would be retained for the most part anyway. The thing I'm going to be concerned with is how Congress is going to deal with the fiscal cliff. We're concerned about the expense cuts and where they're going to occur.”
Dr. Gary Kaplan, chairman and CEO, Virginia Mason Health System (interview): “I expect the act to essentially remain intact. There may be some fine-tuning around the edges, but I don't see the fundamental elements of the (Affordable Care Act) going away and I think IPAB will actually end up staying—it's a very important component of the bill.”
Dr. Robert Laskowski, president and CEO of Christiana Care Health System, Wilmington, Del. (interview): "We've always been great supporters of the Affordable Care Act and the principle that it embodies; there's always a few things in there that could be improved but overall the direction is clearly the right way. What the election did was clarified and made our lives simpler. … In the longer run the direction of the necessity for us to pay attention to value, to improve care and to make sure that the care is affordable to all citizens in the country—that was going to be independent of the results of the election. But there would have been rhetoric changes if the election had been different, and it would have slowed us up in the work that we need to do. So we're happy for the clarity and think that taking care of our neighbors is vitally important.“
Lloyd Dean, president and CEO, Dignity Health (interview): “We think that healthcare in a country like ours is something this is a right as opposed to a privilege. We have been, as you know, supporters of the ACA because we acknowledge that right and we believe through the results of the election that momentum and actions will continue to full implementation of the act. We continue to believe that this will allow us to do something that is very important, which is to address and bring forward solutions to the national healthcare crisis in our country. … One thing there is no debate about on either side of the political spectrum is that the current status of healthcare, prior to some type of reform, was not sustainable. … Even if the act itself had been modified severely, we would still move forward with what we think is important to figure out a way to reduce costs, improve efficiencies, to raise the bar for quality and to increase access.
Dan Slipkovich, chairman and CEO, Capella Health (interview): “There's still an awful lot that we're dealing with. … The near-term concern for us is the proposed cuts that are out there. The concern is that with the fiscal cliff, we're going to see more arbitrary cuts. We really need to deal with some long-term solutions.”
Susan DeVore, president and CEO, Premier (statement): “Now that the elections are behind us, we need to, on a bipartisan basis, get back to the task of removing the barriers to transforming healthcare. The payment and delivery reforms in the Affordable Care Act provide a framework to move us in the right direction. We need to build on those reforms to align payment incentives and measurement with effective patient care. Patients and healthcare providers will be harmed by continual payment cuts unless we empower providers with the flexibility to improve care and drive out waste.”
Dr. Brent Eastman, president, American College of Surgeons (interview): “My great hope, and the hope of the American College of Surgeons, is that there will now be a spirit of bipartisanship in Congress to figure out how to fix those things that broken in our healthcare system. … It may sound simplistic, but we have to be at the table. We've got to speak forcefully about what works and what doesn't work and it must be in the context of what is in the best interests of our patients. There are great challenges ahead. But, if in things political, if we always base our decisions on what we believe is best for our patients, we will never be wrong.”
Dr. Donald Berwick, former CMS administrator under Obama, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress (interview): “If Congress reads this as an endorsement from the public of healthcare reform, I'm hoping we can move into a phase of further exploration and adjustments of the law. However, the current breakdown between the House and Senate remains the same so the risk is if the opposition remains intransigent and uses funding to starve the implementation processes. … I hope that all of the states come on board (with the ACA's Medicaid expansion). The people who would be covered under the expansion are getting care now—they're just getting it late, when they're sicker and their care is more expensive. For the states that turn down this money, it doesn't solve their problem. It increases states' burdens to care for these vulnerable people. It's an unwise policy and it's an incorrect moral stance.”