Obama's second term and healthcare reform: Just get it done

Karen Cheung-Larivee

 Karen Cheung-Larivee

If you were to ask the Magic 8-Ball if healthcare reform will move forward, it would tell you, "It is decidedly so." But if you were to ask it, "Will the healthcare system get the fix that it desperately needs?," it would say, "Ask again later."

Obama's presidential win last week cinches the healthcare reform law, paving the road ahead of the Affordable Care Act's major provisions, which take full effect in 2013 and 2014. But when you look at the bare facts, with Obama as president, Republicans controlling the House and Democrats leading the Senate, the political landscape mimics that of 2008, except with one major difference--there's a lot more riding on this term and whether a divided Congress will make headway this time around.

For some Republicans, Obama's win was utterly unexpected, shocking even the Republican challenger. House speaker John Boehner last week told ABC, "Obamacare is the law of the land." But the top Republican lawmaker quickly backpedaled and said House Republicans were still fully committed to repealing the healthcare law.

Conservatives must admit defeat and accept that health reform is here and has been since 2010, and no Republican president, no Supreme Court ruling will change that--at least for the next four years.

The tone of even the most devout Democratic supporters shifted with the certainty of a second Obama term--his victory was barely cemented before pundits turned their attention to the fiscal cliff.

Providers repeatedly have called for a permanent solution to the physician fee schedule, with an impending 27 percent cut looming with the start of the new year. The administration's campaign that was once marked by a political message of "hope," is now "Just do it."

Obama's second term, categorized by a "just-get-it-done" attitude, applies to both sides of the aisle.

Cleveland Clinic Chief Experience Officer FierceHealthcare editorial advisory board member James Merlino summed it up last week when he said, "When you look at the platforms and the issues for both sides, they're very similar in what needs to be done in the system. I don't think anyone would disagree that we have an expensive system; we need to take costs out. We have a lot of uninsured patients; we need to make sure we're delivering care to them. The basic issues are the same."

Republicans and Democrats are really aiming for the same thing. It's going to take a whole lot of cooperation and concessions on both sides to implement true health reform, and you don't need a Magic 8 Ball to see that. - Karen (@FierceHealth)