Health care policy has always been a hot button issue in elections, perhaps moreso in 2012 than ever before. In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling on ACA and at a time when federal debt and household finances are on the list of talking points for both political parties, we thought we’d go to some of our eminently qualified Disruptive Women for their takes on how health care and the election will affect each other. Here’s what they had to say.

Pat Ford Roegner, MSW, RN, FAAN

Pat Ford Roegner, MSW, RN, FAANThe 2012 election is being heralded as the “watershed election” for the future of health care delivery and coverage. It certainly will be the most significant event in my forty-some years as a nurse and policy practitioner. The presidential and congressional races present various scenarios depending on the outcomes. ACA could be gutted by neglect or direct budget cuts or we could continue to implement the provisions in these trying economic times.

Innovation in care coordination remains my number one area of concentration. If we are ever to get our arms around the big GNP number it will only happen if we take serious steps to make the best use of patient and family centered health services delivery. It means leveling the playing field for all practitioners to make the full use of their skills. It means continued support and education using existing community contacts to alert all woman and seniors to the benefits of wellness care (now covered without co-pays) to prevent disease progression. It means putting the effort we just put into the American teams in the London Olympics into our schools and neighborhoods to connect wellness to everyday actions. Many provisions of ACA that support this work are just unfolding. It would be un-American to not go for the gold.

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

Jane Sarasohn-KahnHealth care is a front-burner issue with both voters and politicians in 2012, just behind the economy. Speaking practically, they’re intimately bound together. The long-term deficit driver of the U.S. economy is health care: how to finance Medicare, how to manage Medicaid with growing rosters of enrollees, and how/whether the private sector will continue to subsidize health benefits for employees.

With only weeks to go until the 2012 elections, it’s important to parse out certainties, uncertainties and wild cards. While the largest uncertainty is whether a Romney administration, coupled with a Republican-dominated legislative branch, would repeal the ACA, there are still certainties we can identify in the short-to-medium run. Most significantly is that employees and health plan enrollees will shoulder more costs (out-of-pocket, coinsurance, deductibles) and clinician decision making responsibilities. What’s uncertain is whether employers, especially smaller companies, will continue to provide coverage.

And, the biggest wild card is a scenario where Paul Ryan as VP in a Romney White House would become a sort of philosophical Health Czar in the administration whose views on Medicare would re-engineer the plan. That would be game-changing. Counterbalancing that would be strong arm-wrestling from the AARP among other consumer health advocates. We could see more strange bedfellow relationships in this scenario, with AHIP, the AMA, the AHA and even pharma and life science companies coming together to fight a health voucher system.

Glenna Crooks, PhD

Glenna Crooks, PhDIt is far too early in the upcoming campaign season to determine outcomes, but one thing is certain about the process: health care will get plenty of attention. Will that be good? I think not. November’s decisions will elect/re-elect a President, the entire House of Representatives, a third of the Senate and a third of State Governors. In other words, in those major races alone more than 1,000 politicians and political hopefuls, untold numbers of pundits and 24/7 news outlets will be looking for someone or something to bash. Health care and those who provide it will most certainly be near the top of the list. Using much-needed changes in health care to bludgeon opponents in this blood-sport of seasonal politics is inconsistent with what the nation needs to be healthy. I know plenty of folks who will enjoy the spectacle. I, for one, won’t.

Rozalynn Goodwin

Rozalynn GoodwinThe November 6 election is the last great hope for ACA’s opponents before the law’s major provisions come into play in 2014. Legislative attempts to eradicate ACA have been unsuccessful due to the party make-up in Washington, and judicial attempts fell short after the Supreme Court virtually upheld the entire law. Because that ruling granted states the option to expand Medicaid, health reform has now evolved from a federal government issue to a state government issue, but almost every state in our Union is in a holding pattern until November 6. So much can change in just one day, and the only certainty today is uncertainty. There is a bright side though: We are in for some spirited discussions about health and health care during the upcoming presidential debates. It is exciting to have our industry in the political forefront. Thanks, Obamneycare!

Audrey Sheppard

Audrey SheppardHow will the new health care law affect the 2012 election? Only time will tell. Mitt Romney and the Republicans want to make the Affordable Care Act, which sprung from their own think tanks and is working well in the state where Romney brought it to fruition, an albatross around the President and Democratic candidates’ necks. Not popular after months of Congressional “sausage-making” and understandably so complex that it took over 2,000 pages (what’s wrong with thoroughness and detail?), Americans are now reaping ample benefits, with more positive provisions kicking in over the next two years. The anti-ACA rhetoric is overblown, a scare tactic and hypocrisy to the extreme. Let’s hope enough voters see through the distraction to elect pro-ACA, progressive and Democratic candidates from top of the ticket to bottom.

How will the 2012 election affect the health care law? If Mitt Romney should become President while continuing to dance away from his singular achievement, and Paul Ryan with his commitment to radical Medicare change becomes VP, this will endanger positive movement toward universal coverage, access to prevention, future cost efficiencies and guaranteeing Medicare’s cotinuation. Even if they should win, however, and Congress looks that much more red after November — enhancing Republican efforts to repeal the law — the train has left the station and many aspects of it will be here to stay.

Insurance companies, hospitals, the nursing establishment and many doctors, significant sectors of our health care machinery, are committed to going forward, and states are readying health exchanges. We can take our cues from the US Supreme Court, no less! As someone whose loved ones consume health care far more than average, my strong preference is fewer office-holders advocating repeal or change, not more — so the Affordable Care Act has the best chance of going into full effect and living up to Congress’ will and the law’s full potential.

Madeleine Kunin

Madeleine KuninWomen will determine the outcome of this Presidential election. The difference between the Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan team and Barack Obama/Joe Biden team are sharp and clear. Romney wants to repeal “Obamacare” which means that women will once again pay much more for health insurance than men, and will not have access to preventive care and affordable contraception.

That’s only part of the story. Think about maintaining Roe vs. Wade, passing the Violence Against Women Act, and legislation to assure women receive equal pay for equal work. This election will decide whether we continue to move forward to give women fair treatment and equal opportunities, or rapidly move backward to a time when women will once again, become second class citizens with limited rights. We cannot let that happen.

And you?

What do YOU think, readers? Leave your comments below.

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One Response to “Quick Takes: Health care and the election”

  1. Roberta Mullin Says:

    Madeleine, why can’t all voting women see your point and vote “pro-women”? There is no other issue that matters. Once you are a first class citizen you have a place at the table for all other issues. Win the revolution first, shape your government next. – From someone who remembers before Roe v Wade.

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