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We are living through some turbulent political and social times – nationally and internationally. There are many days when I’m asked how Washington’s demonstration will fair as Congress is making attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, and then what people can do to influence change. It is hard to respond in specifics but I’ll share some thoughts, and maybe you can share your thoughts with us too. 

The recent decision by the House of Representatives, passing the ‘repeal and replace’ of the ACA, shows just how complex our system is. You know the phrase “the devil is in the details.” Well, as this debate moves to the Senate it is clear that most people in this country don’t understand the myriad connections that make our system what it is. For example, forcing insurers to sell insurance to you even with pre-existing conditions, without having any restrictions on cost, minimum coverage, and protections on out-of-pocket charges, is fully going back to how things were before passage of the Affordable Care Act. There is no “replace” to this “repeal and replace.” 

Many Americans don’t understand that pregnancy, domestic violence, and migraines were pre-existing conditions that allowed insurers to deny coverage. And yes, insurers could sell plans that covered only hospital care, but no primary care, and other variations on minimum coverage options. 

So, for the North Sound ACH – we can be a beacon of light and opportunity in our region. We can bring together partners who might not always agree on strategy, but agree on the end we have in mind – having a healthier population, treating the whole person, and finding ways for our dollar to go further than it has in the past. We do that by being efficient and innovative, knowing that leaving anyone out of the care system only decreases population health, not improves it. 

You can reach out to your Senator, regardless of your politics, and let them know that you want to see improvement, not retrenchment; that you want to see better, not worse; that you want better health and easier access, not less or no access to care and services. One phone call can make all the difference. You don’t have to push for a specific Bill A or Bill B, but, if you don’t reach out, they won’t know that you want better.

We cannot be silent, and we cannot allow Congress to be careless in the decisions they make. It took time to build our system; it will take time to be thoughtful in making changes that take care of us all.

Thanks and be well –