Advancing Healthcare As a Community

Posted on Nov 13, 2015 in Speak Out, Uncategorized

Advancing Healthcare As a Community

For 12 years I served the people of South Carolina at the State House in Columbia. During my time on the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee, I saw firsthand what can happen when politicians meddle in businesses, medical practices and the broader marketplace. That is why I have joined with a group of upstate leaders to form the non-profit Citizens for Community Healthcare Advances.

When Washington politicians forced the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on us – also known as Obamacare – it was 2,700 pages. Now that the ACA is fully implemented, it contains over 20,000 pages of regulations. This monstrosity has fundamentally changed healthcare delivery nationwide, and now hospitals, care providers, and average citizens are being forced to make dramatic changes just to survive.

The goal of our group is to highlight new and innovative ways to deliver health services within our community while also serving to educate those trying to navigate the ever-changing healthcare landscape. When necessary, we will rally upstate citizens to stand up and push back when national – or even local – politicians with no medical expertise or healthcare background attempt to micromanage healthcare policy.

We saw this recently in the dustup between several members of the Greenville Legislative Delegation and the Greenville Health Systems Board over proposed governance changes. ACA has decimated rural hospitals and is ratcheting down reimbursements to local healthcare institutions. Rather than working with the GHS Board – comprised of seasoned medical professionals and business leaders – to navigate the challenging ACA environment, several legislators tried to force their prerogatives about governance on the hospital. They made hospital oversight their righteous cause.

Do we believe community-based healthcare needs oversight? Absolutely. Community oversight is key to keeping any large enterprise honest.

But as we have seen with the recent battles over the governance of GHS, lawmakers aren’t the ones who should be making healthcare decisions or impeding respected upstate leaders from making governance changes that allow GHS to survive in an ACA world.

The purpose of Citizens for Community Healthcare Advances is to build a community-based coalition that promotes new and innovative ways to deliver efficient, affordable and improved healthcare, and to push back when local politicians try to meddle in your healthcare delivery systems. Over the next few months, Citizens for Community Healthcare Advances will hold organizational meetings to educate and engage the community about the changing environment of healthcare delivery.

Politicians in Washington meddled with healthcare and gave us Obamacare. Do we really want local politicians also meddling in our healthcare? If the answer is no, then I urge you to learn more about our cause by visiting www.healthcareadvances.org

Dan Tripp is the executive director of Citizens for Community Healthcare Advances. He is also the founder of Ground Game Strategies, Inc. Tripp served in the South Carolina State House from 1994 to 2006. You can email him at dtripp@healthcareadvances.org