Working Together to Solve Our Nation's Health Care Challenges
Our healthcare system in America has two faces: it provides state-of-the-art care, but is often complex and frustrating. In fact, our system is so frustrating and unpredictable that Americans repeatedly put their own and their family's health care near the top of their list of what most concerns them. Americans are simply not fully in control of their healthcare decisions—too much of it is decided by insurers and the federal government.
Americans have every right to feel frustrated with the Affordable Care Act today—it’s far from what they were promised. Consumers can’t plan or predict what’s up ahead for the ACA and administrators and providers grapple with implementing it. Americans are increasingly worried about rising health insurance costs, less coverage, lower quality of care, and their jobs being turned into part-time employees. They worry their employers will no longer provide health care insurance coverage and that they will fall into the gap where they aren't eligible for ACA tax subsidies and can't afford to buy health insurance. They search for long-term economic security but find unsustainable costs. Possibly most of all, Americans are concerned they will lose the health insurance coverage they have now altogether.
These problems and more are why I organized a Community Leadership Health Care Forum.
Like my previous Community Leadership Forums on Illinois' curriculum standards and heroin and painkiller abuse and prevention, I convened this event to bring stakeholders together to share information and work together to tackle Illinois’ health care challenges.
We heard from a broad spectrum of health care participants, including doctors, professors, hospitals and other health providers, health insurance companies, health technology companies, local government health officials, health trade associations, and those who represent and serve the elderly. They discussed what works, and helped spot problems and devise strategies to improve health care delivery in Illinois.
The following report is just the beginning of a collaborative engagement. It summarizes the main takeaways from the forum, including potential improvements to our healthcare system.