I have just returned from four days in Washington, DC. During that time, I attended an American Hospital Association Board of Directors meeting, the Investiture of new AHA Chair, Tom Priselac (CEO of Cedars Sinai Hospital in Beverly Hills, CA), special briefings for small and rural hospitals and several well known speakers. It makes me very proud to be a member of the AHA Board of Directors. Along with my fellow AHA Board members, I feel like we will be in good position to help create change in health care in the United States.
A common theme that I heard over and over was that health care reform legislation is likely to be happen this year in 2009. That is because there is talk in Washington, DC about using reconciliation rules this year to approve health care reform in the U.S. Senate. What that means is that a reform package can be approved in the Senate with 51 votes (out of 100) instead of 60 votes, which is required. If it only takes 51 votes than the Senate Democrats can approve health care reform without a single Republican vote. That would not be the case if it takes 60 votes.
What I heard from both sides of the aisle is that the hope is that bipartisan support for health care reform will be reached. And I hope that is true. I believe that we will have a better solution if both sides participate in the creation of health reform. And, we need health reform. And by reform, I mean changes in hospital care, insurance products, information technology, coverage for all and wellness. Stay tuned. There will be more to be said in the coming months.