Why this has been a year to re­mem­ber

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS -

A look back at the big­gest health­care events of the year

About a year ago, Jim Morin of the Mi­ami Her­ald penned an editorial car­toon show­ing a hus­band and wife at the break­fast ta­ble. The hus­band, who is read­ing a news­pa­per, re­marks that Pres­i­dent Barack Obama came into of­fice vow­ing to con­cen­trate on jobs, but then spent his time on health­care re­form. The Repub­li­cans say jobs are at the top of their agenda, but then they fo­cus on re­peal­ing the health­care re­form bill.

“Maybe it’s a pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tion,” ob­serves the wife.

The year 2011 proved that if po­lit­i­cal fas­ci­na­tion with health­care re­form isn’t pre­ex­ist­ing, it cer­tainly is chronic. If Amer­i­cans thought they had heard enough about re­form in 2010, they got an­other big dose of health rhetoric this year. The GOP wins a siz­able ma­jor­ity in the House and pro­ceeds to vote to re­peal Obama’s sig­na­ture piece of leg­is­la­tion. This oc­curs even though the re­form plan is es­sen­tially the same as those touted by con­ser­va­tive Repub­li­cans in the 1990s and es­sen­tially the same as that signed into law in Mas­sachusetts by one of the lead­ing GOP pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates.

The Se­nate, con­trolled by Democrats, blocks any re­peal, thus en­sur­ing that the po­lit­i­cal par­ties can beat this horse at least through the 2012 elec­tions.

Repub­li­cans also take their fight to fed­eral courts, try­ing to get judges to over­turn the law. They meet with mixed suc­cess and by the close of the year, the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear the chal­lenges in the midst of the pre­vi­ously men­tioned elec­tions.

Mean­while, the ad­min­is­tra­tion sets about is­su­ing le­gions of reg­u­la­tions to im­ple­ment the law. This cre­ates a new world of op­por­tu­ni­ties for con­sul­tants and en­sures that providers spend a lot of time in front of screens dur­ing we­bi­nars on ac­count­able care or­ga­ni­za­tions.

In other realms, Com­mu­nity Health Sys­tems makes a bid for Tenet Health­care Corp., which shows its dis­plea­sure with the of­fer by fil­ing a se­cu­ri­ties law­suit claim­ing that Com­mu­nity failed to dis­close risks of in­ves­ti­ga­tion over pa­tient ad­mis­sions poli­cies. The episode leaves a sour taste in the in­dus­try’s mouth as it nears the sea­son of good cheer.

There was more to the year—much more. You can read about it in the sto­ries that fol­low. This com­pi­la­tion was pro­duced by our staff of a dozen re­porters in con­junc­tion with its ed­i­tors. We hope it will help you re­call the events of an ex­tra­or­di­nary year. And let’s hope the new year brings more pleas­ant news and not just a “Ground­hog Day” re­liv­ing of the worst.

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