08:09, March 14 328 0 abajournal.com

2017-03-14 08:09:03
Former ABA Health Law Section chairs offer guidance to the president on health care reform

Ten former chairs of the American Bar Association’s Health Law Section published a letter to President Donald Trump and congressional leaders Monday, offering their suggestions on how best to reform health care.

The letter was published on LinkedIn by 2007-2008 Health Law Section chair Andrew Demetriou. Demetriou, who represents healthcare companies in business transactions, says he chose LinkedIn because he has no website of his own, and he needed an easily shared URL. He says the goal was to share the signatories’ experience in health care law, on a nonpartisan basis.

“My thought was we’re lawyers, this is a legal matter and we wanted to offer our best ideas of what we think should be offered in reform legislation,” Demetriou, of Lamb and Kawakami in Los Angeles, told the ABA Journal.

The letter emphasizes that the writers are speaking as citizens, not for the Health Law Section, the ABA or their own employers. The letter also says its suggestions come from attorneys with a variety of political beliefs.

The letter notes that while public debate has focused on a few highly debated provisions of the Affordable Care Act—popularly called “Obamacare”—the law has many other provisions that if repealed could hurt both the health care business and ordinary patients. A full repeal could eliminate less-noticed provisions that improve health care overall, the writers say, and it would also disrupt substantial financial decisions made with the understanding that the ACA would continue to exist.

The letter suggests 16 principles that writers believe should influence any new legislation, including:

The letter ends with an offer to help political leaders with health care reform, should the signatories’ expertise be required. Signatories, in addition to Demetriou, include Linda A. Baumann, William Horton, Bonnie Brier, David H. Johnson, Paul R. Demuro, David Douglass, David Hilgers, Gregory Pemberton and Howard T. Wall III. All have been chair of the Health Law Section since 2000. A few former section chairs Demetriou spoke to were “sympathetic,” he says, but couldn’t sign on for reasons related to their employment.

“We appreciate the challenges involved in developing legislation to address this important national priority,” the letter says. “As [the president has] recently noted, the issues around reform to the laws which govern healthcare delivery are “unbelievably complex,” but they are well understood by the signatories of this letter and other individuals with whom we work on a daily basis.”