As I wrote my first letter for Harmony as IHA president, the U.S. Senate was in the midst of intense debate on legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. There have been a number of shocking developments in this process in just the last few hours. Two different measures, the Better Care Reconciliation Act and a “full repeal and delay” proposal, have been defeated on the floor even though just weeks ago it seemed as though either one might actually be enacted into law. At this time, the concept of passing a scaled-down, “skinny repeal” bill seems to be the primary objective of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
I was tempted to write about what might come next, but we’ve all learned that there is nothing conventional or certain about the current political environment. Just as the U.S. House surprisingly revived and passed the American Health Care Act, Sen. McConnell may have succeeded in crafting a viable ACA replacement plan by the time you are reading this. Both Sen. Joe Donnelly and Sen. Todd Young have been attempting to foster bipartisan dialogue with their colleagues, and perhaps these efforts will gain traction and a compromise can be reached. It is also possible that Congress will simply have moved on from health care by this point, turning to tax reform or infrastructure.
No matter what the scenario, there will be an even greater need for advocacy on behalf of hospitals and the patients you serve. This is not the end of the debate over health care in our nation—clearly the battle lines are just being drawn for the 2018 elections and beyond. We know that the uncertainty this creates is challenging, but IHA will be there to fight for coverage, fair reimbursement, and policies that make it easier for you to focus on delivering quality care in your communities.
I am incredibly honored to be your president, and I could not be more proud of each and every member of this Association. You have the most noble mission: saving lives and keeping people healthy. It is true that there is diversity in the services you provide, the communities you serve, the size of your facilities, and more. But this common purpose of healing Hoosiers’ minds and bodies is what binds IHA and what allows us to speak on your behalf with clarity and authority about what public policies are best for patients. By uniting around common principles, we can create a healthier Indiana.
We may not be able to predict the exact outcome of the repeal and replace debate, but I assure you that with the outstanding team we have here at IHA, we are well-prepared to help you succeed in uncertain times and will work tirelessly to meet your needs. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve you, and I look forward to working together as we advance health care across the state.