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Huntington Hospital Chair Talks State of Health Care

Dr. Bernard Rosof says Obama health-care reforms are on the right track.

One year after President Barack Obama's historic health care reform became law, the process is on the right track, according to Dr. Bernard Rosof. The  board chairman spoke on the state of health care to an invitation-only crowd Wednesday as part of the  Forum in Mineola.

“Quality health care is a fundamental right,” Rosof said. “I believe the act will reinvigorate public health on behalf of individuals, on behalf of work sites, on behalf of the community and on behalf of the nation at large.”

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law March 2010, aims to bring Americans affordable and comprehensive health care while raising the overall health of the population.

“If we focus on better and affordable care, if we focus on improving the health of the population, we have the potential to save up to $35 billion,” Rosof said.

The old system was not sustainable, according to Rosof, who pointed to obvious flaws.

“Health care as we know it now is unaffordable," Rosof said. "It’s inequitable, disparate. We are at a point where it is totally impossible to do nothing.”

Among many provisions under the reform law, patients are given more access to recommended, free preventive services, and coverage is extended to dependent children up to age 26. The law also places an emphasis on consumer protection by banning denials of preexisting conditions, lifetime and most annual limits.

As efforts to refine the law are expected to continue over the next several years, Rosof acknowledged that it still lacks key components to make it completely successful – including lack of clarity on malpractice liability reform. He also addressed the opposition of those who may have economic concerns.

“It is truly understandable that people are concerned about the governmental cost for private sector health care products and services,” he said, “but the cost of repealing the law is estimated to result in a net increase of federal budget deficits of $230 billion, whereas the Affordable Care Act has been estimated to reduce the deficits by $132 billion.”

Although the act has not been implemented long enough to yield accurate enough results, Rosof alluded to the success of the Massachusetts statewide health care reform. Like the federal reform law, the commonwealth’s plan requires residents to buy insurance and employers to offer it or pay the fee.

Since the reform was enacted in Massachusetts, the state has achieved its goal of providing nearly universal coverage in which 98 percent of all residents were insured last year in 2010, Rosof said.

“Despite what the critics claim, the state’s program for universal coverage is really working,” he said. “That has come with very minimal fiscal strain. The real lesson is that health care reform can work at a state level and the national law should work as well or perhaps even better.”

paul June 16, 2011 at 11:47 AM
The Dr. should really be concentrating on the practice of medicine or fixing the problems at the hospital rather than speaking about economic subjects he knows nothing about. With obamacare, we simply took a big problem and made it much worse. Healthcare is certainly not a right and that idea has put healthcare for everyone in great jeapardy. The practice of third party payments is a failure. Whether it be government provided healthcare delivery or private insurance. Economically, you cannot seperate the provider of a good or service from the end user of that good or service. Its an economic principle explained best by Milton Friedman. Let people pay for thier healthcare directly and have real insurance for catastrophic needs and watch how quickly the market corrects the pricing in healthcare.
Ranger Sewer June 16, 2011 at 12:43 PM
“Quality health care is a fundamental right,” Rosof said. Where is this "Right" found? Who enforces this "Right" ? How is this "Right" funded and by who? Are Dr.s now slaves to this "Right" and possible to the Hospital? This is a great country we live in BUT if the above is funded by higher taxes and enforced and collected at the point of a gun or jail time for not paying it, Think the MTA TAX, is this "RIGHT" ? Does the Hospital take no state aid? If they do not get any TAXPAYER MONEY then the HOSPITAL can do as it pleases BUT IF THEY ARE NOT PULLING A PROFIT NOW, BUSINESS 101 steps in, YOU MUST TAKE IN MORE THEN WHAT YOU SPEND.

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