On Wednesday, Leadership Health Care (LHC) members attended an Executive Briefing series presentation by Paul Keckley, managing editor, The Keckley Report. He began by highlighting Nashville’s operational expertise in health care and how well it has come together to address the systemic issue of poor health in underserved populations. The remainder of his talk focused on what is happening in Washington, D.C. and the role of Nashville’s health care industry, particularly the provider market.
Regarding the current health care policy discussions on the federal level, Keckley emphasized the fact that the American Health Care Act (AHCA), recently passed by the House, is part of the current Administration’s bigger policy agenda around tax reform and reducing the deficit. And, while Republicans who voted for the AHCA go home to their constituents and claim they’ve repealed the Affordable Care Act (ACA), that’s not exactly true.
“The AHCA comes nowhere close to repealing the ACA,” said Keckley. “In fact, the AHCA only addresses a small part of the ACA. Plus, there is no belief in the D.C. crowd that the AHCA is a slam dunk; there is a lot of work yet to be done. Remember, politics trumps policy.”
He went on to discuss how divided the public is on how to move forward when it comes to health care in this country, specifically related to the issue of a private market vs. a public system. Keckley noted that the division is evident both among party lines and generationally.
“In the 2016 election, health care was the sixth most important issue that drove Republican voters; it was the third most important issue for Democrats,” said Keckley. “Currently, 7 out of 10 Americans under the age of 45 favor a single payer system in this country because they don’t like the current system. Millennials, in particular, question whether health care is looking at the best interest of companies or patients.”
Keckley concluded by emphasizing that there is a long way to go in terms of changing current health care policy. As the 2018 and 2020 elections approach, he sees health care still being in the spotlight and there is a role for Nashville’s industry to play.
“The majority of people in this country think there is more focus on profit in the health care system than there is purpose,” said Keckley. “I think we need to talk less to our investment bankers and listen more. We need to get more in touch with the everyday Joe who has some expectations about this system and who we are going to be hearing from more and more in the coming months. I want to see the heart and soul of Nashville, health care providers, balance profit and purpose by empowering individuals to navigate their health.”
This executive briefing was part of ongoing programming for the Council’s Leadership Health Care initiative, offering members insight from national industry leaders in an interactive setting. For more information about LHC, visit www.leadershiphealthcare.com.