Last Tuesday morning, my former boss at the Catholic Health Association—Sister Carol Keehan—texted me that she was going to the White House to celebrate the 12th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act with President Biden and President Obama.
Sister Carol’s text (and the photo she shared of her chatting with President Biden) brought back so many memories for me: being in the gallery of the House of Representatives the night the ACA passed that chamber. Meeting President Obama when he came to thank Sister Carol at the annual meeting of the Catholic Health Association. And, most importantly, the work we did over many years to pass, explain and improve the landmark legislation.
Across the country there are still far too many people who are uninsured—at least 25 million by most estimates. But the ACA helped cut that number in half. And here in Vermont, we have a very low uninsured rate, among the lowest in the country. Nearly 97% of Vermonters have health insurance coverage, according to a March 30 report by the Agency of Human Services.
Even with these reassuring figures on the coverage front, Vermonters and hospitals alike face unprecedented inflation, and health care providers continue to manage a growing workforce shortage and associated costs, so it will require a collective effort to make sure health care services continue to be available and affordable going into the future.
As a health care field, we face real and difficult challenges in the coming months and years. I am confident that we can manage them by doing what Sister Carol taught me, which is to be optimistic, smart, realistic and collaborative. If we do those things along with our legislators and regulators, I think we can weather any storm and make sure Vermont stays at the top of the list when it comes to health care cost, quality and access.
Have a great week,