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2012 Election Reaction: Healthcare IT Will Regain Momentum

November 7, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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Reactions have begun to pour in from across the healthcare industry in response to the re-election of President Barack Obama, and the maintaining of the House of Representatives by the Republicans and the Senate by the Democrats. According to Robin Raiford, director of research and insights at The Advisory Board Company, the re-election of President Obama along with the lack of af power in Congress, is good news for those leaders driving healthcare IT.

“[The result] foreshadows that the healthcare IT agenda defined to support the Accountable Care Act and The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will regain momentum lost to the distraction of the campaign,” Raiford said in an interview with Healthcare Informatics.

Affording to Raiford, the next few months will be focused on responses to the impending fiscal cliff, which is the expiration of multiple financial reforms at the same time. Raiford says, “Regardless of the details of those changes, focus on the necessary fundamentals as articulated by Donald Berwick will remain:  Improving the experience of care, improving the health of populations, and reducing per capita costs of health care. “

Raiford’s colleague at The Advisory Board, Rob Lazerow, says Medicare and Medicaid will play a huge part of the fiscal cliff debates and talks between both parties. Lazerow’s reaction to the election, in a podcast interview, can be found here. Meanwhile, Raiford says she expects care transformation in support of value-based purchasing options will take center stage for IT organizations in the form of increased adoption EHRs and business intelligence tools such population management analytics. Others, like Sharon Canner, the senior director of advocacy programs at the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), say the results of the election will be “more of the same, to some extent.”

Check out Mark Hagland’s complete interview with Canner.

Meanwhile, organizational healthcare leaders have given their reactions, with most expressing support for the President and continued healthcare reform. Jeremy A. Lazarus, M.D., president of the American Medical Association, released a statement saying, "The AMA congratulates President Obama on winning re-election as the President of the United States. This is a critically important time for our healthcare system, and America's physicians remain at the forefront of policy discussions, working with President Obama, members of Congress and the administration to focus on the important task of improving both the delivery of health care and the health of our nation.”

He said AMA is committed to working with Congress and the administration to stop the nearly 27 percent cut scheduled to hit physicians who care for Medicare patients on Jan. 1.

Ron Pollack, executive director of the healthcare consumer advocacy group, Families USA, said the result means “that ObamaCare will be implemented, the Medicaid safety net will be strengthened, and Medicare’s guaranteed benefits will not be undermined.”

Pollack added with the ACA moving ahead, it will be a challenge enrolling tens of millions of uninsured people in new health coverage. There will need to be a “broad public education campaign coupled with a strong enrollment infrastructure,” to get people on board by the January 2014 deadline.