What's Not Being Addressed in the 2016 Presidential Debates

Author: Lee Domanico, Chief Executive Officer

Lee DomanicoWhile the current political debates have it all—drama, intrigue, mudslinging, and, at times, a circus-like atmosphere—what’s missing is a hard outlay of where the candidates stand when it comes to their plans for healthcare in 2016 and beyond. Yes, there is a lot of rhetoric but no one seems to be getting to the real substantive issues other than their stance on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which, to no surprise, seems divided right along party lines with Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders in favor of ACA while Donald Trump, Senator Ted Cruz, and Governor John Kasich are all on-board to repeal.

Now that we are clear on everyone’s stance regarding the political football that is Obamacare, what I’d like to hear from the candidates are the things that matter most to you and me. I’d like to hear both parties address their plan for improving the quality of care for all patients to ensure everyone has the right to the very best possible healthcare available. I’d like to hear the candidates’ thoughts for lowering exorbitant prescription drug prices that many cannot afford and leave countless others with no option but to go without. I’d also like to hear the candidates address their plan for Medicare to ensure our elderly, who have contributed so much of their earnings into a system they’ve trusted for so long, are well taken care of. What about the candidates’ plans to offer relief to the millions of those Americans that suffer from mental illness—now listed as one in five adults.

The list of issues that are not being discussed goes on and on. My point is that candidates of both political parties have yet to scratch the surface in terms of the real issues and that which matters most. Are they out of touch? Perhaps speaking to leaders in the health care industry would provide better direction and help identify areas of opportunity.

Being on the front lines of the healthcare industry affords me the unique perspective of hearing firsthand the concerns of everyday citizens—of all political persuasions. The resounding theme is that their issues are not being addressed by either political party or their representatives. Case in point, a recent poll by the Associated Press and National Opinion Resource Center (NORC) cited in Fortune “found Republicans and Democrats agree that unemployment and healthcare should be two of our top priorities” yet an overwhelming 61% of those polled had “little to no confidence in the government’s ability to resolve” these issues.*

As Chief Executive Officer of MarinHealth, I have always strived to keep an open ear as to what our patient’s ever-changing health care needs and priorities are. In keeping with that theme, I hope that our Commander and Chief will find time – beyond campaigning – to listen to the people, get to the core health care issues, and focus on finding solutions to the issues at hand. Once someone is brave enough to step up and do so, we will have an individual deserving of representing this fine country and its people.

*Source: Fortune: http://fortune.com/2016/01/24/americans-top-priorities/