AHIP 2017: Antidote to political drama is to focus on healthcare's north star, says Michael Leavitt

Money
The healthcare industry can't abandon compassion, but it also can't ignore economic reality, Michael Leavitt said at the AHIP Institute on Wednesday.

AUSTIN, Texas—If you’re feeling worn down by the drama and uncertainty of a possible repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act and other changes in the healthcare landscape, former HHS secretary Michael Leavitt has some encouraging words for you: In the big scheme of the country’s evolving healthcare system, this is but one chapter in the middle of a 15-chapter novel.

And at the end of the book, there will be a “uniquely American” solution.  

RELATED: Beyond ACA repeal and replace—health experts issue a blueprint to make American healthcare great again

Free Daily Newsletter

Like this story? Subscribe to FierceHealthcare!

The healthcare sector remains in flux as policy, regulation, technology and trends shape the market. FierceHealthcare subscribers rely on our suite of newsletters as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data impacting their world. Sign up today to get healthcare news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

The story started with the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s. It continued from the Clinton administration’s mostly unsuccessful attempts to reform healthcare to the patients’ bill of rights, to managed care, to “Obamacare” and the transition from fee-for-service to value-based and accountable care, Leavitt, also the former governor of Utah, told the audience at the 2017 America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) Institute on Wednesday.

It’s “abundantly clear,” he said, that “we want to live in a country where people get care when they need it.” At the same time, it’s clear that the healthcare system has an economic problem. It’s unacceptable to lose that human compassion. But it’s equally unacceptable to ignore healthcare costs, he said.

The antidote to these turbulent political times is to focus on the end of the story and the continuing journey to provide quality care at an affordable cost, Leavitt said.

“I don’t think we’ve lost our compassion [but] overall, it’s still going to drive us to value. If we want compassion and economic leadership: value, value, value. That’s the north star.”

Suggested Articles

Maryland legislators passed a bill that would help people who are uninsured enroll in coverage through their tax returns, plus more payer headlines.

In states that implement Medicaid work requirements, hospital operating margins could drop between -.4 and -2.2 in states, the report estimates.

CMS has approved a waiver request from Maryland, allowing the state to test several wellness and access projects in its Medicaid program.