November 26, 2018 News

Election Aftermath: What’s Next for Health Care?

As the dust begins to settle following one of the most hotly contested midterms in American history, many are now asking – what’s next for health care?

The industry has been under the microscope for more than a decade. With Democrats now in control of every branch of state government, industry leaders are wondering what the party has planned for its newfound power.

The idea of a single payer health care system was a hot topic on the campaign trail. The Democratic-led Assembly has passed the bill five years in a row, knowing it would ultimately be quashed by the Republican-controlled Senate. With Democrats now in control of both houses, it remains to be seen whether they’ll pull the trigger on single payer.

Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

The idea of “free” health care sounds great to many – and made for an even better campaign promise – but the simple act of government taking control does nothing to solve the affordability epidemic. After all, when was the last time government was an efficient and effective purchaser or administrator?

In addition to costing hundreds of billions dollars in additional taxes, slashing physicians’ salaries, and putting the government in charge of something as important as your health, the biggest problem with single payer is that it’s an oversimplified solution to an incredibly complex problem. And as American journalist H.L. Mencken once said, “For every complex problem there is a solution that is concise, clear, simple, and wrong.”

That’s a Big If

Single payer supporters believe the cost of such a system – estimated at $210 billion – would be offset by two factors, the first being administrative efficiencies. Unfortunately, the so-called Empire State is not exactly known for its belt-tightening, but instead, has a history of demanding health plans – like CDPHP – cover ever more benefits, which is fine until you’re (the government) the one picking up the tab.

To make it work, a recent study by RAND Corporation found the government would need to slash physician pay in half, thereby reducing access to care to some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers.

In addition, a new report released by the Manhattan Institute found the adoption of a single payer system in New York would slash hospital payments by 17 percent statewide, leaving many not-for-profit hospitals in financial ruins.

Stop, Collaborate, and Listen

We live in a world where people want quick fixes, but health care is complicated, and the solutions must be thoughtful, void of political bias, and collaborative in spirit.

Come January 1, the Democratic Party will wield immense power in New York. And with that power comes great responsibility. Responsibility to do the right thing.

At CDPHP, I’m proud to say that we consistently do the right thing by our members. Come January 1, I ask our elected officials to do the right thing and say “no” to single payer.

John D. Bennett, MD, FACC, FACP
About Author

Dr. Bennett was named president and CEO of CDPHP in 2008, after serving as chairman of the board since 2003, vice chairman since 1999, and board member since 1996. Prior to working at CDPHP, Dr. Bennett served as chief of the division of cardiology at Albany Memorial Hospital, was a member of Northeast Health Systems’ board of directors, and chaired the department of medicine. Dr. Bennett also served as CEO of Prime Care Physicians, PPLC, where he practiced cardiology with Albany Associates in Cardiology. Dr. Bennett chairs the board of directors for the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Healthcare Information Xchange of New York (Hixny). In addition, he is a member of the boards of the Alliance of Community Health Plans, America’s Health Insurance Plans, Colonie Senior Service Centers, the American Red Cross of Northeastern New York, the Center for Economic Growth, New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC), and the Palace Theatre. Dr. Bennett earned his medical degree from SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, and a bachelor’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He completed his residency in internal medicine as well as a fellowship in cardiovascular disease at Albany Medical Center. Currently, he is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the American College of Physicians. Dr. Bennett is board certified by the National Board of Medical Examiners and the American Board of Internal Medicine, with subspecialties in internal medicine and cardiology.

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