(January 13, 2017) Because the Trump Administration and Congress are seeking input from the nation’s governors, Ohio Osteopathic Association President Geraldine N. Urse, DO, and American Osteopathic Association President Boyd R. Buser, DO, sent a joint letter to Gov. John Kasich today outlining the profession’s priorities regarding potential changes to the nation’s health care system.
The letter emphasized that as part of the osteopathic philosophy, it is a priority to ensure access to affordable care and coverage for patients. It outlined four basic tenets to consider when repealing the Affordable Care Act: the need for a foundation based on prevention and care coordination; preserving the patient-physician relationship; developing a strong physician workforce; and ensuring health care coverage and access.
Separately, OOA Executive Director Jon F. Wills noted that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act is concerning, even though the profession has advocated for some tweaks and changes to the law ever since its inception. He said uncertainty over what the replacement will look like could have an extremely disruptive impact on the insurance marketplace. "We are certain of one thing," he said, "nobody wants to see 20 million new ACA insureds lose coverage."
The osteopathic profession has been particularly supportive of the ACA’s emphasis on improving primary care services, enhancing payment for care coordination and rewarding efforts to keep people healthy.
If repeal and replace efforts result in more flexibility to state governments through block grants and strengthening the state insurance markets, the OOA pledges to work with the Kasich Administration to preserve important payment and coverage reforms already in place in the state. "We believe the Kasich administration has positioned Ohio well, regardless of what Congress and the Trump Administration do at the national level," Wills said. "We strongly support the Governor’s efforts to date. Ohio is now viewed as a leader in health care reform. Other states are not as fortunate."
The OOA continues to be an active member of Ohio's Medicaid Coalition, which includes more than 75 business and health-related associations along with numerous patient advocacy organizations. The Coalition meets periodically with Kasich's health care team. According to a Coalition briefing, Kasich will release his Congressional letter to the public and will meet privately with Congressional leaders next week. National press coverage is expected due to his role in last year’s presidential campaign.
Kasich will release his state biennial budget by the end of January. The Ohio Department of Medicaid recently released a report to the General Assembly on the Group VIII (expansion) population. It contains important information about the impact of expansion on enrollees, and will be an important part of the budget discussion.