Strengthen Obamacare, don’t repeal it
With the very real issues that face Americans today as well as the backdrop of a heated election season, it can be difficult to recall the progress that has been made in recent years with respect to health care. Millions more Americans now have health coverage, but beyond that, huge gains have been made in the area of “delivery system reform.” This refers to the way in which physician groups, health systems and others focus on improving the quality and efficiency of care that they provide and many of these opportunities have been made possible by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
These efforts impact our patients as well as our communities, and can enlist broad stakeholder groups in a process of collaborative change and learning. For example, the Johns Hopkins Community Heath Partnership (or J-CHiP program) sought to improve coordination across care settings in East Baltimore and was sponsored by a federal government award. Other programs created by the state or pursued by health systems or provider groups leverage new ACA opportunities to better enable delivering patient-centered care. These seeds of innovation are trying to crack the code on how to improve health within the realities facing local communities — where projected life expectancy can vary by decades from one neighborhood to the next.
Bipartisan solutions are both possible and desirable, but a health care platform focused on repealing the ACA is a step in the wrong direction (“The Obamacare attack,” Nov. 3). As we move forward, let’s not lose sight of the ultimate constituent — all of us are patients.