Public Policy Contributor Ron Angus writes…
And so it begins. It appears that over the next sixty days the much heralded heath care legislation will finally be molded into a form that can be held up for final inspection before being placed into President Obama’s kiln for the final firing. If past is prologue, then innumerable stakeholders will have only nanoseconds to inspect the finalized handiwork before it is ensconced into our healthcare delivery system. I jest a bit— there might be a few chances to take a breath and sneak in Congressional committee rooms to look at this legislation in midstream before year’s end. Veteran’s day and Thanksgiving come to mind as two possible days one might be able to sneak in and look at Congress’s work without the legislators hovering over our shoulders, unless of course they change the locks again.
Somewhat surprising to many is that President Obama has not specifically codified his desires on an issue that directly impacts every last citizen. The President has however painted his desires with a broad brush. His comments reflect a forty thousand foot view rather than the critically important finer points that comprise several competing congressional proposals such as the recently released fifteen hundred page Baucus bill. As this healthcare debate has progressed over the last few months, it appears that the direction the legislation has taken is narrowing in on health insurance reform rather than health care reform. Some might prefer just adding a few new lines to the continuously evolving history of healthcare in our country, but that is a highly unlikely proposition. For better or worse, we will see a wholesale change in the architecture of the health insurance industry before the next solar eclipse in January.
So what is going to transpire over the next few months? How can you make your voice heard before the fat lady sings? One way to intelligently apprise yourself of the fluid situation is to refer to the SHM Washington Update before you make your voice heard in Washington. The SHM Legislative Action Center provides a vast array of links which can enhance your ability to cogently interact with your elected officials in Washington. A few hours of tedium spent educating yourself over the next several weeks may relieve some of your angst about this process, and may allow you to distill things for your patients who certainly will ask for your opinion. After all, it is ultimately all about the patients. Isn’t it?