Health Care Reform Implementation Continues Following House Vote

The following message is from Mark Bertolini, Aetna CEO and President

As expected, the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to repeal the health care reform law adopted by Congress last year.  It is important that we view this development in its proper political context, and remember that we are still in the implementation phase of the law as it now stands.  

The November 2010 elections shifted the legislative focus to voter concerns about health care costs and the size of the government overall. The January 19 repeal vote is the result of the new House leadership working to acknowledge those voter concerns.  However, we also recognize that the repeal of the health care reform law is not expected to advance in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Politics and legal issues aside, we must remain fully engaged in implementing the law, and delivering our expertise to those making the rules, ensuring that we are providing value to consumers and not just increasing the complexity of our highly regulated sector.
Our job going forward remains three-fold:

  • First, we must work with all key players in the health care reform process to correctly and efficiently implement the law as it now stands.  We must deliver a public-private partnership that builds on the best of private sector solutions while offering the protection of a public safety net.
  • Second, we must continue to be a strong and constructive advocate for a regulatory environment that encourages competition, choice and flexibility for the states and the American consumer.  In doing so, we must remember that states know their local markets best, and that duplicative regulation only increases costs without providing value for consumers.
  • And third, we must work with lawmakers to refocus the debate on the challenges that are left before us – minimizing unintended consequences, reducing costs and improving quality.  We will continue to educate policymakers that there are certain parts of reform that must work together.  For example, dismantling one part of the law – the individual mandate – could require a complete review of another part – guaranteed issue coverage – to keep our health care system solvent and protect consumers from spiraling costs.

We remain firm in our belief that the overall intention of improving access to health care for all Americans is the right direction.  However, fully addressing cost and quality is the only way to deliver real value to the American people and make health care reform sustainable. Unfortunately, Congress has not yet meaningfully tackled these issues.  In short, much work remains to strengthen and transform our health care system.

Whatever happens in Washington and the states, we will continue to honor our commitment to work toward solutions on behalf of our customers and consumers across the country.