Special guests included Judy Feder, Ph.D., former dean and professor of public policy, Georgetown Public Policy Institute, Georgetown University and institute fellow, Urban Institute; Senator Bill Frist, M.D., partner, Cressey & Company and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader; Alberto R. Gonzales, Doyle Rogers Distinguished Chair of Law, Belmont University, of counsel, Waller and former United States Attorney General; Jon Meacham, executive editor and executive vice president, Random House, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and former editor, Newsweek. The discussion was moderated by John Seigenthaler, Jr., CEO, Seigenthaler Public Relations New York and former anchor, NBC Nightly News.
“As the elections approach, it’s very fitting to have this discussion here in Nashville. The newly-elected President and Congress will have a number of complex issues ahead of them, including the direction of health care reform,” said Senator Frist.
Panelists agreed that certain elements of health care reform will move forward no matter who is elected in November, such as insurance companies eliminating exclusions for preexisting conditions and providers moving toward population health management as opposed to the fee-for-service model. However, they were also in agreement that the election results will heavily affect the future of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as a whole.
“Though the polls seem to be breaking President Obama’s way, it’s still quite possible that this election will go late into the night in November. Historically speaking, the 2012 race, like 1980 or 1992, is unfolding in a climate that is largely hostile to incumbents,” said Jon Meacham.
“No matter who wins, Congress has to address the complex fiscal cliff which is approaching at the end of the year when significant tax cuts expire and spending cuts are triggered. How we address the deficit has enormous implications for the future of Medicare, Medicaid and health reform, on which the two parties, as well as President Obama and Governor Romney, have vastly different positions. The outcome of the election will make a big difference to the future of health care,” said Judy Feder.
“Health care is a very important and complicated issue in this election. There is still a lot of uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act, which is why health care companies have held off on some of the changes that were outlined in the legislation. The election results will determine how we all move forward,” Alberto R. Gonzales said.
Nashville is a natural venue for this discussion, considering the city’s impact on the health care industry on both a national and international level. Nashville-based health care companies account for $70 billion in annual revenue and more than 400,000 jobs globally. Nashville-based hospital management companies own or operate more than half of the investor-owned hospitals in the United States.
“It is a privilege to have these experts discuss the future of health care in the industry’s capital,” said Caroline Young, president of the Nashville Health Care Council. “Nashville’s health care leaders are paying close attention to this election, which will impact their business models moving forward.”
The Nashville Health Care Council, founded in 1995 as an initiative of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, is an association of health care industry leaders working together to further establish Nashville’s position as the nation’s health care industry capital. For more information on the Council, please visit www.healthcarecouncil.com.