Last week MedCity News and legal blog Above the Law hosted a “Town Maul" gathering at Stoney's Bar & Grill in Washington, DC's Logan Circle neighborhood to address "Healthcare, the 2016 election, and what, if anything, the candidates know about the issues." Oliver Wyman Associate Sarah Kokinos stopped by the town hall-styled event and provides the following report:
The open forum debate was moderated by Chris Seper of MedCity News and Elie Mystal of Above the Law. Participants heard from audience members—a mix of professionals from law, business, and medicine—and two panelists: Jeff Makowka, Director of Market Innovation at AARP, and Gregory Dolin, Co-Director of the Center for Medicine & Law at the University of Baltimore.
The concept of what role free market concepts should play in healthcare drew the most opposing viewpoints, while the discussion touched on a number of other topics and how they might turn on the 2016 presidential election results.
Key points and themes included:
- Regardless of the election turnout, the population is getting older and more sedentary.
- Regardless of how healthcare issues are affected and regardless of who wins the election, an overriding concern is that the economy could fall apart.
- As we fix incentives and decrease use of care, theoretically there will be fewer jobs for the American people. How will that affect the economy?
- What will happen to healthcare if a Republican president is elected? We know Obamacare would likely be repealed but what will be put in its place?
- Some 40-50 cents of every healthcare dollar is spent on end of life care. Nursing homes start at $17K a month and no one seems to be addressing these high costs.
- Should healthcare even be a political decision? Given that it’s 17% of the country’s GDP, the overwhelming response was yes!
- Our drug prices and payments are subsidizing the rest of the world’s—should this remain the status quo?
- How can the system create an accurate measure for the value of drugs?
- Can we collectively bargain across both parties for better drug prices? Innovation might stop, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you consider that newer doesn’t always equal better.