Understanding the election and what it may mean for our organization and the health care industry


Like you, I’ve been thinking about last week’s election results and what they might mean for health care in the United States, particularly when it comes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I’ve received questions from caregivers who are wondering whether the ACA will be altered or even repealed, and how any such changes might affect our patients and the communities we serve.

After a very long, emotionally charged campaign, the election has left many of us in health care anxious about what’s in store. I’d like to share my thoughts on how we’ll be advocating for those in need as the new administration sets its priorities in the weeks and months to come, as well as what we know won’t change as a result of the election—our Mission and our commitment to the poor and vulnerable.

Is a full repeal of ACA possible?

The short answer is that a total and complete repeal would be nearly impossible. Republicans maintain a slim majority in the Senate, but they do not have the votes needed to overcome Democratic opposition to a full repeal of the law. What Republicans do have is a road map for repealing significant parts of the law, even with a narrow Senate majority. Still, it is far too early to know what will happen given the complexities involved and the fact that major parts of the law are popular with voters.

Our external partnerships, strong relationships and ongoing advocacy will be critical moving forward, and we will continue to partner with like-minded partners to preserve the parts of the ACA that are working, especially those that brought health care coverage to millions who lacked it before.

The opportunities ahead—and our steadfast commitment to those we serve

While many things are uncertain, I know that Providence St. Joseph Health is well positioned as a leader in transforming health care so that it serves all people. While some policy proposals discussed during the campaign give us pause, many other ideas on the table hold promise, and our organization has both the opportunity and the duty to help shape the policies of the newly elected government. This gives me hope and renewed faith in the vision for the future our organization is pursuing—our work on behalf of the most vulnerable among us has never been more important.

As leaders in Catholic health care, our work as healers continues as we reach out to elected and appointed officials to make sure the voice of those we serve is heard loud and clear. We will keep working at the local, state and federal levels to advance policies that lead to improved outcomes for our communities. And no matter what happens to the ACA, our commitment to the poor and vulnerable will never waver.

  1. Thank you Rod for the reassuring and positive words that Providence St. Joseph Health will continue our mission to serve ALL people, especially the most vulnerable. I hope this continues to be a focus both for the communities we serve and our internal caregivers.

  2. Thank you Rod for the thoughtful response. How can I become more educated and engaged in the process of shaping legislation? Can you please suggest non-partisan social media and/or discussion groups that share our committment to caring for all those in need.

    • Kate, thank you for your interest. We are blessed to have caregivers who are passionate about the work we do and are looking for ways to get involved. I’ve asked our federal advocacy leader to reach out to you. In the meantime, take a look at the government affairs intranet and our lobby policy. Another great resource is the Catholic Health Association – we are members of this national nonpartisan group. CHA is an important partner that shares our strong commitment to serving the vulnerable and marginalized: http://www.chausa.org.

      • Thank you Rod, the government affiars site is particularly helpful. I am most interested in participating in a bi-weekly meet-up in Seattle. An educational forum, that will help get people up-to-speed, stay current, and help educate the general public on helath care policy issues, including perhaps organizing broader venues for panel discussions and guest speakers. I have not heard from anyone in the advocay group at Providence, but will follow-up directly.

  3. Thanks, Rod. Your strength and leadership are a solace during this time. In addition to adapting to any health care environment changes, I am confident we as people of Providence St Joseph Health can also express our commitment to the poor and vulnerable by supporting those who might be marginalized by actions the new administration takes that are not directly related to health care.

  4. Thank you for your knowledge, wisdom, understanding and leadership and we move forward through this ever-changing atmosphere.

  5. Thanks, Rod! Here’s praying for any transition in our health care system ALWAYS puts patients first.

  6. Thank you Rod for being a light in the storm. Your words are both comforting and encouraging. I am truly honored to be a person of Providence and to be able to live out our mission statement in my work. I am very excited for the future. Thank you again for your service and leadership.

  7. Again thankful for your leadership and the vision for our communities. We have work to do and I for one, for much needed to hear these words.


  8. I appreciate the thoughtful narrative in this time of transition and uncertainty but as you point out, our mission will never falter nor be subject to the whim of politics in being carried out. And as we at Providence well know, we are all poor and vulnerable at some time in our lives and it is a comfort to know that Providence St. Joseph Health will always be there to help each of us in our time of need.

  9. Thank you for your thoughtful and calming remarks, Rod. Regardless of the election results, the Affordable Care Act was going to require significant legislative and regulatory adjustments. As a major Catholic health care provider, we have a special responsibility (together with our partnering organizations) to engage the new administration and Congress and work with them to shape health care policies that both serve the common good and the needs of those who are struggling the most. Anchored in and inspired by our mission, the PSJH advocacy team, working with our executive leadership, is up to the challenge. Thanks again!

  10. Thank you for the thoughtful message and encouragement! Honored to be a person of Providence St. Joseph!

  11. Very well said, Rod. I hope clearer heads preserve the best parts of ACA and focus on improving other areas that have surfaced over the past few years. Focus on the Providence and St. Joseph Missions will assure we serve with excellence!

  12. Thanks for your thoughtful comments Rod. This election has been a bewildering experience. It helps to realize that the path you have led us on to build healthy communities and address the mental health issues we face I still right on target. We will need to educate our political representatives that these are not only effective approaches to improving health, but cost effective as well.

  13. Thank you Rod for such a thoughtful narrative. We have certainly never been short on challenges. I am most appreciative of your stewardship and unwavering commitment to serve the most underserved and vulnerable.

  14. Thanks for your thoughts, Rod. The ACA obviously needs some “work”, but I agree that a complete repeal isn’t likely, not is it the answer. I hope that smarter people than I will figure out how to retain the good elements of the ACA (providing insurance for those with pre-existing conditions is one) and combine them with new ideas into a package that will deliver high-quality and affordable care to all. Easier said than done!!