John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, on Thursday spoke at the Integrated Care Summit in Washington, a conference sponsored by the Care Continuum Alliance.
The Alliance recently changed its name from the Disease Management Association of America, a fact that Engler played off on as he introduced the afternoon plenary session. From his (edited) remarks:
I observe there’s another high profile name change that’s actually been under way since President Obama signed the health care bill back in March. The law, the official name is “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, maybe you have, but it has not escaped our attention that the Administration rarely now refers to the law by its full title.
At the White House website and actually in the materials from Health and Human Services, the law is called just, “The Affordable Care Act.” Some of us are a little concerned, and the jury’s still out on that: Will it be more affordable or less affordable? I think the work that we’re doing needs to be fought for and defended, because that’s how we do make it more affordable.
We certainly don’t think that we can drop the emphasis on “patient” from the policy discussion, because that prospective patient in the manufacturing world is our employee, and you want to be very focused with that employee. That prospective patient – hopefully they don’t become patient – you want them to be the priority, front and center.
At the same time, I can say for our manufacturers there is the suspicion – and I think through the provider community – that if we simply stand aside and say, well, somehow government or agencies of the government, they’re going to be the leaders in innovation or implementing integrated care, we’re bound for disappointment.
You’ve got to have the innovation, the ideas, the experience, the wisdom, if you will, from public and private employers and the health care experts who have worked with them – people who have actually put programs to work, actually run something on the ground, interacted with people on a daily basis.