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 the Author

John D. Bennett, MD, FACC, FACP, is president and CEO of Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan, Inc. (CDPHP), an award-winning, physician aligned, not-for-profit health plan based in Albany, NY. Bennett has held the position since 2008 after serving more than 10 years as chair, vice chair, and board member for CDPHP. During his tenure, CDPHP has been ranked among the top-performing health plans in New York and the nation, most recently named #1 in Customer Satisfaction in the 2023 J.D. Power Member Health Plan Study. Under his leadership, CDPHP has also become known as a model employer regionally and nationally and was recently named among the top five Best Companies to Work for in New York by the Society for Human Resource Management, as well as Forbes Best-in-State Employers 2022. Prior to joining CDPHP, Bennett served as founding member and CEO of Prime Care Physicians, PLLC. During his tenure, he co-led a team of 25 cardiologists and helped grow the practice to a 100-physician multi-specialty group. 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. He earned his medical degree at SUNY-Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, and a Bachelor of Science degree at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Bennett completed an internship and residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in cardiovascular disease at Albany Medical Center. He is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the American College of Physicians. Bennett is currently board chair for the Center for Economic Growth and the Capital Region Chamber, and vice chair for the Palace Theatre. Bennett also serves on the boards of the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC), the Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP), America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Russell Sage Colleges. Bennett is a member of the New York Public Health and Health Planning Council where he helps shape decisions related to New York State's public health and health care delivery system. Well-known locally and nationally for advancing health care innovation, Bennett was recently named to Crain’s New York Business 2021 Notable in Health Care, as well as the Albany Business Review’s Power 50 list.

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