So here we are, folks … Nov. 7, 2012. The year has been filled with political chatter, fierce debates (among the candidates, pundits and probably your friends and family too) and uncertainty over the direction of our country. The topic that has been front-and-center throughout the election was healthcare – and what a polarizing issue it is. "Healthcare reform will bankrupt the country," "Obamacare is the best thing since sliced bread," "I don’t want to pay for other people's healthcare." The New York Times even said, "this election is, to an important degree, really about Medicaid," and I couldn’t agree more.
But whether you are a Republican, a Democrat or somewhere in between, I think we can all agree that the nation’s healthcare industry has been inherently flawed for a very long time and on an unsustainable cost curve. It is critical that healthcare as an industry reform – and it will change regardless of who sits in the Oval Office. For the past year especially, the most forward-thinking hospitals and healthcare manufacturers have started to collaborate (something that is very new to the industry) to reduce the cost of healthcare while improving the quality of patient care. They’ve been doing this through IT initiatives, healthcare supply chain restructuring and ACO programs, to name a few. These organizations have not waited to see who would win the election to start changing the status quo. I can confidently say that this progress would have continued to move forward even if we woke up today with a President Romney. Healthcare industry issues are so much bigger than politics.
Whatever your opinion, with President Obama’s win, the Affordable Care Act survives. With his second term, we’ll see even more change, and the healthcare industry this time next year will look very different from how it is today. Wherever you lie on the political spectrum, it’s time to get on board and embrace the new business of healthcare. Reducing costs and improving care needs to be the bottom-line goal for all healthcare organizations, not only to stay competitive as businesses, but to bring the healthcare industry into the 21st century and return the focus to the patient.