Wednesday, February 17th, 2010
By Ed Howe
Former president and CEO, Aurora Health Care
President Obama has an opportunity to succeed when it comes to his goal of reforming some of the ills of the healthcare industry. But from the vantage point of having run a large healthcare system in this country, I can see that certain strategic changes are needed in order to make Obama's goal a reality.
As Obama prepares to bring members of Congress together next week - yet again - to try to salvage healthcare reform efforts, I would offer the following advice.
Here are my top four suggestions for President Obama:
- Move to the center and try to represent the interests of more of the American people. Success will not come from representing the interests of just a few.
- Tell Democrats that there will be no special deals for unions and no special deals for states in order to "win" votes. As we saw the first time, Americans can't stomach special deals when tied to something as personal as healthcare.
- Republicans should forget tort reform. Democrats will not agree to include this, so do it outside of any healthcare reform legislation.
- Keep the message simple so Americans understand what you are doing. If it is too complex and ordinary people can't understand it, they will become fearful. Explain it as though you are talking to a college student with no medical and no legislative background so the people affected actually "get" what will and will not change for them.
As a recent survey indicates, most Americans want Congress to start from scratch on healthcare reform.
Include what people and patients care most about in order to gain their trust. Lowering costs and implementing restrictions on health insurance companies would be a good starting point.
Politicians should remember that they too can join the ranks of the unemployed!
Can Obama salvage healthcare reform?