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Health Care Reform: Looking Past the Public Option

The major elements of the health care reform proposals being debated in Congress have remained the same from the start. The focus on improving quality, lowering costs and providing better access to health care has generated many meaningful proposals for reform that are supported by the American Hospital Association and many other healthcare providers. This said, there are still “sensitive elements” of reform that will likely not please everyone or, perhaps, anyone. But such matters are the nature of all major policy change in American. Policy is often developed over many, many years and rarely comes out of the blocks in perfect or lasting form.

My hope – and our work –is that our nation will take meaningful steps to assure that everyone in need has true and timely access to care. Likewise, we need to reduce the cost of healthcare and – importantly – make significant advances in the quality and safety of care across the nation. On our watch as healthcare providers, we all have an obligation to be engaged in the discussion and to provide meaningful input. And while it is unlikely that everyone will agree on all the key or even minor points, in America it is important that everyone always has a right to contribute to the final policy outcome. In the care of health care, the decisions made will impact not only everyone here today, but also generations to come. Health care reform is serious stuff and deserves our full and focused attention.