Last week I was honored to attend a discussion at the White House convened by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. It was one of those rare “clear my schedule immediately” invitations; I thank my patients and family for allowing me to take this last minute trip.
Physician leaders from around the country were invited to the White House for a dialogue with lead government health officials (specifically administrators from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation) over the challenges and opportunities health care providers face in the race to meet deadlines set by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). What followed was a fascinating, solutions-oriented discussion about how government can support and incentivize the provision of health care that both patients need and doctors strive to provide. As expected, common points of discussion were challenges to building a Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH), achieving electronic medical (EMR) record meaningful use, and developing Accountable Care Organizations (ACO).
Now before you stop reading, give me a chance to make this migraine-inducing jargon make sense. Your experience with the health care system may change in the near future.
As we mark the second anniversary of the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) now is a good time to have what in medical parlance is called a “time out” and reflect on how far we have come and where we need to go.
Some states are challenging the legality of vital provisions such as Medicaid expansion and the mandate for all Americans to carry health insurance. Candidates vying for President Obama’s job vow a complete repeal of the ACA. Not surprisingly, polls show a confused public wondering what the health law means for them and the health plan they have now. Despite this, the obfuscations cannot hide the reality that tens of millions of people have already been served by the initial phases of ACA.
What if I were to tell you that Washington is trying to balance the budget by making cuts to a program that covers 70% of the nation’s nursing home costs and 43% of all births in California? Well they are.
The rancorous debate over how to balance the federal budget includes drastic cuts to Medicaid. And while this program may seem distant to people in power and the general public, the reality is that cuts will effect far more people than you expect and may even impact you or someone you know.