The ACP Advocate Blog

by Bob Doherty

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What do we do now to bring about health care reform?

In the closing moments of the 1992 movie The Candidate, Senator-elect McKay, played by Robert Redford, turns to his top political advisor and anxiously asks "What do we do now?" as throngs of journalists pour into his hotel room. He never receives an answer.

The same question must be going through the minds of President-elect Obama and his transition team. The President-elect must organize his administration and decide on his priorities for the first 100 days.

One of the lessons from President Bill Clinton's failed attempts to reform health care is that it must be a top legislative priority from the very beginning. The Clintons waited months before unveiling their health care reform plan, and the delay allowed their precious political capital to be consumed by other issues.

Where does health care reform fall on President-elect Obama's "to do" list?

Just four days before the election, CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked Senator Obama to rank his priorities. Senator Obama named stabilizing the economy as the top priority. "We don't know yet what's going to happen in January," Obama said. "None of this can be accomplished if we continue to see a potential meltdown in the banking system and financial system. So that's priority No. 1: making sure the plumbing works." (Could this be a job for Joe the Plumber???)

Senator Obama's priority number two was energy independence; priority number three was health care reform; tax reform/tax cuts was number four; and improving education was fifth. After naming health care reform as third, Senator Obama said this:

"I think the time is right to do it."

Voters agree. The New Health Dialogue Blog reports that a "a stunning two-thirds [of voters] expressed concern about affording health care" in exit polls taken on Tuesday and that "62 percent of respondents in that latest Kaiser tracking poll stated 'it is more important than ever to take on health care reform.' " (According to Drew Altman of the Kaiser Family Foundation, exit polls are a good indicator of whether voters have sent a message to politicians that is strong enough to create a mandate to reform health care).

The question of "What do we do now" can also be asked of health care reform advocates, like the American College of Physicians, who agree that the time is right. Just because a new President wants to reform health care doesn't mean it will happen. ACP needs to do its part so the opportunity to reform health care does not once again pass the country by.

In January, we released a candidate's pledge that described how ACP felt the candidates should shape their health care proposals, based on the College's key health reform priorities. ACP's election tool has been updated to show how President-elect Obama's positions compare to ACP's policies and priorities. Links are given to additional resources to learn more about the Obama plan.

Today's questions: Do you agree that the "time is right" to reform health care? How should ACP answer the question of "what do we do now?" to bring about health care reform?


Blogger jack segal said...

Have a single payer system coverin g ALL Americans and redistribute income to primary care from the highly paid specialties.

November 7, 2008 at 9:09 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

About the Author

Bob Doherty is Senior Vice President, American College of Physicians Government Affairs and Public Policy; Author of the ACP Advocate Blog

Email Bob Doherty:


Bookmark and Share

The ACP Advocate Blog


The 2009 Medical Blog Awards
Voted Best Health Policy/Ethics Blog 2009

Healthcare Bloggers
10 Healthcare Bloggers We're Thankful For

Blog log

Health Blog
The Wall Street Journal's blog on health and the business of health.

Health Affairs Magazine Blog
The Policy Journal of the Health Sphere.

The Health Care Blog
Everything you always wanted to know about the Health Care system. But were afraid to ask.

MD Whistleblower
Vignettes and commentaries on the medical profession.

The New Health Dialogue Blog
From the New America Foundation.

Kevin MD
Medical Weblog

DB's Medical Rants
Contemplating medicine and the health care system

EGMN Notes From The Road
Bloggers post from medical meetings, press conferences, and policy gatherings from the U.S. and around the world, providing readers with a tasty analysis of the buzz, the people, and the stories that don't get told.

FutureDocs Blog
A blog dedicated to medical education, news, and policy as well as career advising.

Disease Management Care Blog
An ongoing resource for information, insights, peer-review literature and musings from the world of disease management, the medical home, the chronic care model, the patient centered medical home, informatics, pay for performance, primary care, chronic illness and health insurance.

Medical Professionalism Blog
The Medical Professionalism Blog was created by the ABIM Foundation to stimulate conversation and highlight best practices related to professionalism in medicine.

Powered by Blogger

Comment policy & copyright info