Today’s NC Policy Watch/Health Access Coalition Crucial Conversation luncheon with UNC Health Care CEO Dr. Bill Roper was one of those events that most of us experience every now and then in which you find yourself muttering “Man, I wish so and so (Uncle Frank or Richard Burr or your favorite misinformed tea bagger) could be here to hear this!”
The reason, of course, is that if they had been there, they would have heard one of the most knowledgeable and experienced health care experts in the country – a man who has run large federal agencies, worked for Ronald Reagan and George Bush 41, helped run a large private insurance company, and who now runs a giant public health care system – vigorously (but gently and confidently) defend the recently passed health care reform legislation.
They would have also heard him say things like: “It is not ‘a government takeover of health care.’ It is not, it is not, it is not.”
And something like this: “Private competition is not the solution to cost control.”
And this: In dismissing the idea that the individual mandate is a radical idea, Roper pointed out that he worked on such a proposal in the Reagan White House in 1983.
None of this is to say that Roper loves every aspect of the reform bill. From his perspective, it’s very good when it comes to getting more people covered, but not as strong when it comes to improving care and controlling costs. There’s obviously tons more to do. But, make no mistake; Roper was clear in his argument that, given the political realities of our time, the President and other congressional leaders clearly did the right thing.
Let’s hope a lot more people hear this man’s calm, rational and informed voice in the months ahead.
Speaking of which, we’ll try to have some video of the presentation up on The Progressive Pulse very shortly.