TUESDAY APRIL 27, 2010
We wrap up our journey to the American Hospital Association Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., with a day packed with big-name policymakers and visits with members of the New Jersey congressional delegation.
Yesterday we ended our day by having the full group of New Jersey hospital advocates hear from Congressman Frank Pallone, chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee. He spoke to a packed room and was gracious enough to spend a lot of time answering our questions. Congressman Pallone talked about the difficult road to health reform and the state implementation issues in the future. We thanked him for all of his help and leadership (and that of his staff) in achieving this landmark legislation and for helping us with some specific issues of importance to N.J. providers. We agreed to communicate any concerns we encounter as the new law is implemented.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was a special quest this morning. She applauded hospitals' efforts to work with Congress to pass the healthcare reform bill. Reform, she said, will give the nation's hospitals 32 million individuals with insurance cards, fewer uncompensated ER visits, a larger supply of primary care physicians and expanded efforts to improve healthcare quality. (Of course, hospitals agreed to billions of dollars in funding reductions over the next decade to help pay for those reforms. Hospitals truly are committed and vested in being part of a solution to our healthcare system's problems.)
Our afternoon is full of visits with Congress members and their staff in their offices on Capitol Hill. We have a strong contingent of hospital leaders from New Jersey who are fanning out in meetings with Sens. Menendez (who was a tremendous advocate on N.J. hospital issues during the reform debate) and staff members for Sen. Lautenberg, along with almost all of our Congress members.
We appreciate the opportunity to meet with all the members of the delegation on the very important issues confronting healthcare in New Jersey. In the end, we share a common goal of providing affordable, accessible, quality healthcare to the people of our state.