Tom Jacobs, CEO, MedHQ: Healthcare business leaders will more often than not find a way to be successful in just about any market structure. So, depending on individual company strategy, some will see advantages for their organizations under one regime over the other. An analysis of the healthcare debate about which policy is better for the healthcare industry, however, in my opinion, goes beyond the walls of the healthcare industry.
I would argue that what is best for the overall economy is, in the long run, what is best for the healthcare industry: a healthier overall economy will produce greater real gains in household incomes, which will improve the market for healthcare services. Determining whether Obama's or Romney's healthcare prescription is best, I would look at the macroeconomic effects of their policies: which will make the more productive use of capital and labor? At 16+ percent of a $16 trillion economy, the best solution for healthcare is the solution that will result in the most productive (i.e., efficient) output. President Obama's policies stem from a top-down, central planning approach, which history demonstrates will institutionalize lower productivity in a large chuck of GDP, while Mr. Romney's policies will be more free market-oriented, and therefore more efficient. Romney's policies will then, in turn, improve overall economic conditions for households, producing more discretionary income, a significant portion of which will be spent on more healthcare services.
As an outsourcer of employment/HR services to small businesses, my bias is toward cost reductions to small businesses and employees, and so my focus tends to be on what I believe will reduce basic healthcare cost, which I believe correlates a more efficient market with more affordable health insurance.
Tom Mallon, CEO, Regent Surgical Health: Healthcare reform is a symptom of the fundamental problems with our country. The deep seated problem is the desire of our political leaders to give benefits to the middle and lower economic classes without the honesty of paying for it. We cannot continue to borrow 40 percent of our national expenditures. And we cannot support our programs with less than 50 percent of our population paying federal income tax. The "billionaire tax" or "millionaire tax" is a head fake, a political stunt to divide the country. It will at best, address 4 percent of our future deficits. An honest portrayal would include a cost cutting program with a revenue program that spans the economic strata. If these issues get fixed, there will be a reasoned and reasonable solution to the healthcare issues.
Chuck Peck, MD, CEO, Health Inventures: I'm not sure it's really a question of "better." Governor Romney has already staked out his position — we will try to repeal the current healthcare reform act. The questions really are whether or not you believe the system needs to be reformed, what the priorities of our healthcare system should be for patients, providers and payors, and how much we collectively believe we can afford to pay for what we "all" want?
I can't imagine any reform plan that will satisfy everyone, be fair to everyone, cover everyone, etc. I am a firm believer in the premise that "doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result" is insanity. Something had to be done. I also believe what Colin Powell said, "Once the information available is in the 40 to 70 percent range, go with your gut." Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Something had to be done to stem the healthcare cost tide. Something had to be done to cover the 50 million Americans without insurance coverage. Something had to be done to cover uninsured children. Something had to be done to change the incentives from quantity to quality. Something had to be done!
My "gut" tells me we are on the right path. Now is not the time to start from scratch — again. The next plan will be no more acceptable or perfect than the current plan. President Obama made a seriously gutsy and risky move but at least he moved. Now it's our turn to make this work.
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