Just last week, the Missouri House introduced new legislation to block implementation of the current health reform law. Attempts like these to block implementation of provisions contained in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are not uncommon in many states, including Missouri and Kansas, therefore making timely implementation of health reform provisions very difficult to imagine in our service area.
A few weeks ago I attended a national conference of health grant makers from around the country. We had an interesting group of speakers who suggested that the timely implementation of health reform provisions contained in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was not dependent on the upcoming Supreme Court decision or upcoming Presidential election.
The speakers suggested that no matter what the Supreme Court decides and who is elected President in November, our country will struggle with a timely full implementation of the ACA because both political parties will have enough political clout to keep the other political party from fully implementing what they think best.
Clearly this is the case in Missouri and Kansas.
Yet even in this crazy political environment, most organizations involved in the health reform effort –hospitals, doctors, payers, nurses, social workers, dentists —are making sincere efforts to make our current health system better and more cost efficient. Why? Because our current health system is not sustainable. Obviously, these stakeholders disagree on specific reform measures, but they are at least talking with each other trying to problem solve how to make our system better for everyone.
The Health Exchanges, Patient Center Medical Homes, prevention and patient safety issues, insurance reform and developing an adequate health care work force are all efforts underway. My hope is that we can eventually focus not on politics but on what is in the best interest of the patient – those patients with health insurance and those patients without.
Steve Roling is the President/CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. Each week he blogs about issues that inspire him as we work toward eliminating barriers to quality health.