3 Healthcare Policy Experts Weigh in on 2012 Election

Three healthcare policy experts from previous presidential administrations have penned op-eds about the 2012 election, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

David Blumenthal, MD, served as the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology under President Barack Obama from 2009 through 2011. Dr. Blumenthal said voters may be most influenced by the economy in this upcoming election, but the president's influence on healthcare in the upcoming term is undeniable.

"Not since the 1964 contest between Barry Goldwater and Lyndon Johnson, whose victory made possible the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid, has a presidential contest carried such significant, immediate and certain implications for physicians, patients and all the other stakeholders in our healthcare system," he said.

Robert Berenson, MD, an expert in Medicare policy and former assistant director of President Jimmy Carter's White House Domestic Policy Staff, served as a senior member of President Obama's transition team and now serves as vice chair of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. In his op-ed, Dr. Berenson said he is encouraged by the fact that "big medicine" has not yet become a political issue and hopes for it to stay that way.

"[G]iven the current trends of hospital consolidations and acquisitions of physician practices, it is likely that big medicine will come to dominate U.S. healthcare, like it or not. So far, the developing, divergent views on big medicine have not divided into polarized, red and blue positions. That provides some hope that policymakers will actually explore the merits of big medicine in a bipartisan manner to help shape its evolution to serve the public interest, as its advocates wish," said Dr. Berenson.

Gail Wilensky, PhD, served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush for policy development. She also chaired MedPAC from 1997 through 2001 and has held numerous leadership positions for task forces and commissions on healthcare for veterans. In her op-ed, Dr. Wilensky said the election will "have only a limited effect on physicians" because serious challenges need solutions regardless of the outcome. Namely, she cites the resource-based relative value scale and sustainable growth rate conundrum and looming threats from sequestration.

More Articles on the 2012 Election:

For-Profit Hospital Stocks Mirror Obama's Re-Election Chances
Voters Rank Healthcare Second Most Important Issue for 2012 Campaign
Romney Likely to Keep ACOs, Says Campaign Adviser

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