Friday, January 6, 2017

A New Year’s Resolution

No reader of this blog will be surprised to hear that I have been a bit concerned lately about maintaining the gains that we, in the GBMC HealthCare System, and others across our nation have made towards the national triple aim of better health, better care, and lower costs.

Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also affectionately known as Obamacare, our nations’ hospitals, physicians, nurses and the rest of the healthcare team have generated significant improvements in our care. Medicare has seen the smallest annual cost increases in its history. Employers, like GBMC, have also seen annual health care cost increases barely above the rate of inflation in the overall economy. Much of this has been stimulated by the ACA and the agency it created: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. Millions of Americans who did not have insurance before passage of the ACA now do and people who have significant illness, so-called “pre-existing conditions” can now get insurance when before they could not. Adult children can stay on their parent’s insurance plans, until the age of 26, when before they could not be covered after the age of 22. Insurance companies must spend at least 85 cents of the premium dollar on care and limiting the administrative costs and profit to 15 percent when before there was no such requirement. Now, if they spend on administration or have as profit more than 15 percent, they must return the difference it to the purchaser of the insurance. The concern that the ACA would be a “job killer” has proven not to be true. The unemployment rate is now much lower than it was at the time of the passage of the ACA.

It is sad that the part of the ACA that is not working well, the sale of individual policies to people who don’t qualify for the government subsidies, is the only part that is getting much “air time.” The price of these policies has gone up significantly because the “individual mandate” is not working. Too many healthy people are not buying the coverage leaving only the sick people in the pool thereby driving the cost up and making it likely that more people will stop buying the coverage.

The wonderful thing about the triple aim is that it transcends politics. I have not met anyone, Republican, Democrat or Independent that does not want better health and better care at lower cost. So, we in the GBMC HealthCare System must put the rhetoric aside, ignore the distractions and redouble our efforts towards our vision phrase: to every patient, every time, we will provide the care we would want for our own loved ones. What we want for our own loved ones is: we want them to get better; we want them to have the best care experience; we don’t want their resources wasted and we want them to know that we get it that it is a gift to serve them and this is a joyful pursuit.

So please join me in a resolution for 2017: The GBMC HealthCare Family resolves, in the New Year, to rise above all distractions and bring more joy to each other and our patients as we move faster towards the national triple aim.

If you would like to share your personal new year’s resolution, or goal, that you’ve set aside for this year, please go to to share.

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