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Dr. Bill Roper – Health Reform Advocate

Dr. Bill Roper, UNC Health Care System CEO and UNC School of Medicine dean, had some interesting things [1] to say to the Raleigh News and Observer this month about health care reform. He also writes an occasional blog [2]on health issues (don’t we all?).

Roper is no liberal – he headed up Medicare and a whole lot else under the first Bush administration and has never been shy about his politics. However, our health crisis is starting to bring political consensus on the need for action and Roper is no exception:

We should create a system of universal health-care coverage. We don’t need to have one plan that covers everybody, but we do need to have everybody covered.

He’s ready to get serious about reducing costs too:

A lot of things done are not necessary, or are not guided by the best of medical evidence. There are administrative wastes in the system. Duplication and inefficiencies are rampant.

Roper was quoted in a later editorial [3] too regarding reform. Why are Roper’s thoughts significant? It’s not just the fact he heads a major public medical system. It’s also not that Roper has made some drastic change in his politics. Rather, it’s that the kinds of solutions and potential changes that Roper is describing are much like the kinds of potential solutions and changes proposed by President Obama, other moderate plans, and even the NC Justice Center’s Health Access Coalition’s health reform plan for North Carolina [4]. This sort of building agreement from many sides of the political spectrum and from many interest groups will be critical if we are to be successful in changing our health system for the better.

The momentum for real health reform is gaining – and comments like Bill Roper’s are one indicator of how far we have come.