In plain English:
Regardless of the spin that follows, Obamacare is the law of the land. From now on it is open to criticism, repeal, or reform. But it will be implemented and reform will require both political parties to find ways to cooperate. It is a time now for the leaders of the health care industries in America and the leaders of America’s job creation community to step up to what should no longer be a political plate and be heard on policy implementation.
The president himself should take the first step to the plate and speak to the importance of the role of the law and the national government, not in delivering health care, but in shaping the payment policy which rewards a healthier people, healthy communities, and a value-oriented health care system. This shouldn’t start in Washington but rather in communities across America. And he should invite governors and legislators of both parties to sit at the health policy improvement table with him.
In a presidential election campaign it is critical to engage in a discussion of the importance of health system reform in the coming debates in Washington over entitlement reform, as the Bowles-Simpson Commission has already done. It is equally important for state government leaders to acknowledge the critical role that national health care financing policy must play in subsidizing both private and public insurance and in helping communities deal with the social determinants of poor health.
Democrats in Congress who voted for the ACA/Obamacare especially must not fail the promise of the law by eliminating its financing. Senators like Klobuchar and Franken from MN need to accept the fact that if John Roberts had the guts to uphold the constitutionality of the law, they need the guts to recognize that the medical device industry will benefit hugely from the coverage expansion in the law and that a temporary and effective tax of 1.5 percent on incomes over $5 million a year is a tiny price to pay for all that new jobs-generating business.
Former U.S. Senator Dave Durenberger (R-MN, 1978-1995) is currently the Senior Health Policy Fellow at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business and chairs the National Institute of Health Policy (NIHP). This post was originally published on his blog, NIHP.org, and on the Opus College of Business’ High Performance Health Care blog.