Health Care Reform

Two years ago President Barack Obama proposed a reform of our nations health care policy. The new plan took a major step this week as it was presented before the Supreme Court. CEO of Edward Hospital, Pam Davis spoke to local residents at a recent Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon about the details of the proposed plan and what it could mean if it’s passed.

Republicans and Democrats don’t agree on much these days, especially as we head into an election year, but if you ask President Obama, or Republican candidate Mitt Romney, you can bet they both will tell you we need some type of health care reform. The question then becomes whether or not President Obama’s Affordable Care Act is the answer. Davis admits there are good things that come from Obama-care but believes it’s far from perfect.

“Cost is still going to be an increasingly big problem for us in the United States if we don’t do something drastic,” said Davis. “Something drastic that I’m talking about is something that no one else likes to talk about and that is that we have to be dealing with death and dying.”

The 2,700-page bill revamps several provisions of our current system, from allowing sons and daughters to remain on their parents plan until they turn 26, to forcing insurance company’s to allow individuals with pre-existing health conditions to receive coverage.

The debate in the Supreme Court the past week centered around an individual mandate, which would force nearly all Americans to purchase health care.

“They can require we get health insurance that is hopefully at an affordable price, so that everyone can use it instead of going to the ER and not being able to afford that and causing everyone else high insurance,” said Wendy Melgin, a St. Charles resident.

“It’s an absurd concept. You can’t be charged a fee for essentially being alive,” said Richard Reeb, a Naperville resident.

If the mandate is ruled unconstitutional, the court then has to decide if the rest of the law can still survive. Davis also likes the fact that hospitals will have to become more efficient because the concept going forward will call for one lump sum payment to cover physician expenses, hospital expenses and physical therapy expenses.

“One way of doing this is by connection through medical records, so we will want to know if the physician has ordered a CT scan, a very expensive procedure, we don’t want to redo that when you come into a hospital setting,” said Davis. “The way for us to know those results and be connected is through IT. We are spending $45 million putting in a new epic program that will link much more efficiently with our physicians.”

One aspect Davis is weary of is the addition to increase Medicaid. She says the state of Illinois has not handled the program well and pouring more money into it could make it worse.

The Supreme Court is expected to make final rulings by late June.

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