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What the Presidential Election Results Mean for Patient Advocates
When President Barack Obama ran for office in 2008, healthcare reform was already an enormous and contentious topic. In those days, I was invited to speak to dozens of groups of patients and caregivers to help audiences sort out the issues that comprised healthcare reform so they could, on their own, decide which aspects (if any) were important to them. From the concept of “universal” healthcare through a public option, to coverage for pre-existing conditions, to portability, tort reform, free vaccinations to develop “herd immunity,” and many more, we looked at the whole of the topic as objectively as possible. Before I started each talk, I would challenge audiences to figure out which side I was on by the time we were finished – reform? or no reform? It gave me great satisfaction that a show of hands at the end usually resulted in about a 50-50 split, demonstrating as much neutrality as I had been able to muster. It was somewhat surprising, because I was very much in favor of reform and truly not objective about the subject at all. What I never mentioned to any of my audiences was this: that the bottom line for patient advocates was that healthcare reform was, simply, job security. The reason: no matter what became of healthcare reform (and, of course, history tells us it became Obamacare, AKA the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or the ACA) – no matter what decisions became the law of the land, Americans were going to be confused by it all. They would be confused about costs, access, costs, access, access, and of course, costs, all of which could have huge detrimental effects on their health and care. The more confused they became, the more they would need a health or patient advocate to help out. Thus, job security. That brings us to the 2016 presidential race, and victory for the candidate who said he will work to repeal the ACA. No matter what your feelings about the outcome of last week’s presidential election, there are a few things advocates can take to the bank:…