Healthcare CEOs: Senate healthcare bill would have dire consequences

Cleveland Clinic, Kaiser, NewYork-Presbyterian executives are all concerned over the Senate’s bill.

Healthcare CEOs made the rounds of news shows in this week to air their grievances with the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the Senate GOP bill intended to replace Obamacare.

The American Hospital AssociationAmerican Medical Association, AARP, and several other organizations have registered their opposition to the proposed bill.

But, it’s healthcare CEOs who are working to mitigate the anticipated changes who are anticipating how the proposed legislation would affect their organizations.

Among healthcare chief executives weighing in on the topic in recent days are Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove, MD, New York Presbyterian CEO Steven J. Corwin, MD, and Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard Tyson.

Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove

With the anticipated greater numbers of uninsured patients coming into hospitals, “you’re going to have hospitals that are in very deep financial trouble,” Cosgrove told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Wednesday. “And this is particularly true of rural hospitals and safety net hospitals, which are very dependent on Medicare and Medicaid for their returns.”

As he sees it, legislators are not looking at the “root cause of the problem.” It’s not how you divide the money,” he said. “The problem really is the rising cost of healthcare.”

“I think if we came together and dealt with the root cause there’d be plenty of money to go around to look after people,” Cosgrove said. “But if we don’t deal with it now, we’re going to have the same problem going 10 years from now.”

“We’re really headed in the wrong direction,” Cosgrove said. We’re talking about payment reform; we’re not talking healthcare reform.”

Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard J. Tyson

Bernard J. Tyson, chairman and CEO of Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente, wrote in a LinkedIn post that although the ACA – also known as Obamacare – is an imperfect legislation, future healthcare reform must build on its progress, rather than undo it.

“We need to pause and ask policymakers to answer the most fundamental question: What does progress on healthcare look like for the people in America?”

In his view, it should cover more people, not fewer people; be affordable.

Without question, we must make healthcare more affordable; provide the best quality of care and best health outcomes.

Tyson points out that the U.S. has among the poorest health outcomes compared to the other developed nations. The healthcare industry can improve quality if “we commit to moving from a predominantly ‘sick care,’ episodic, fee-for-service model to a predominantly preventive model with incentives for value, integrated care and, most important, keeping people healthy.”

“The draft bill does not expand coverage; it does not do enough to protect people in need of care, nor does it provide enough assistance to those who need help in paying for health care and coverage,” he writes.

NewYork-Presbyterian CEO Steven J. Corwin

Speaking to Bloomberg on Tuesday, Steven J. Corwin, CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian said, “Just remember this: One in three children in this country is insured by Medicaid. One in three.”

Corbin noted that two-thirds of the expense of Medicaid are for people who are in nursing homes.

“So, you can work all your life, be a grandma, or ma, and then go through your assets, and then you have to be on Medicaid to go into a nursing home,” he said. “This is going to be devastating to so many people.”

Asked whether he would prefer having something concrete done in Congress or just see the proposed bill go away, Corbin said: “I’d like to see it go away. And, I’d like to see the Medicaid expansion remain, and I’d like to see the insurance market stabilized.”


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