A Duty to Instruct

Thursday, December 19, 2019

"Dismantling the ACA will disrupt the entire healthcare system"

A Message from Richard Feldman, President and CEO

Every election is important and every eligible voter should feel the moral obligation to vote. Heroes have died, on battlefields in Europe and rural fields in the US, to protect and expand a right that is the cornerstone of a democracy. Elections have consequences and the results of this year’s general election will, among other vital issues, further define the role of government in providing and regulating health care.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in his 1762 groundbreaking book The Social Contract (subtitled the Principles of Political Rights), wrote the very right to vote imposes a duty to instruct ourselves in matters of public concern. There is much to instruct with regard to how changes to healthcare policy, at the federal and state levels, will impact us as individuals, employees of Diamond Healthcare, and as management partners to hospitals and healthcare systems throughout the country.

To that point, on December 18, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a lower court judge, not unexpectedly, that the portion of the Affordable Care Act that required most people to maintain health insurance coverage was unconstitutional. The case will now be sent back to the lower court to decide “which provisions of the ACA Congress intended to be inseverable from the individual mandate.” Most likely a final ruling comes down from the Supreme Court later next year in the midst of the 2020 election cycle.

Dismantling the ACA will disrupt the entire healthcare system. What if mental health and addiction treatment are no longer included as “essential benefits” in all commercial insurance plans, pre-existing conditions are not covered for persons with chronic mental illness, Medicaid eligibility criteria are changed in your state, or there is a reduction in Medicare reimbursement to providers? These potential changes are not conceptual; they will have a measurable influence on the Diamond mission.

The demand for what we do has never been greater. Our ability to sustain success will be dependent, in part, on our willingness to assume the duty to instruct, participate in the political process, and make informed choices that support our mission and are in the best interests of the patients we serve.