The second thing that cannot be avoided is that we have to begin to think about the ACA and what the ramifications of that are not only for the healthcare industry, but also for the U.S. in terms of jobs, employment, the economy, and the health of patients.
Essentially, when healthcare sneezes, the U.S. gets a cold. I care deeply about its future as it affects 100% of the population.
HLM: Given its large share of the economy, why was only one person from healthcare named to the committee?
Cosgrove: I don't really know what the thinking was about putting the committee together. Trump vetted [a list of] individuals, some of whom he did not want, and some of whom he added. I don't know if I was on the list to begin with or whether I was added.
HLM: The president-elect promises to cut red tape. What are healthcare leaders telling you about regulations they'd like to see done away with or modified?
Cosgrove: Well, we've got a tremendous number of quality metrics that we're held to on a regular basis. I think we report something like 120 quality metrics to the federal government on an annual basis, and we have somebody inspecting our organization every day of the year. It's a real burden.
It seems like one side of Washington wants to improve efficiency, and the way most industries have done it is through consolidation.
The Justice Department seems to be taking the opposite tack, certainly for providers. [It] has been trying to derail increasing efficiency by being worried about competition.
I won't speak about insurers because I think that remains to be seen.
HLM: Have you met President-elect Trump? If so, what were the circumstances?
Cosgrove: Yes. I first met the family when I operated on his brother [Robert] a number of years ago. I've also met him on other occasions, such as when we [Cleveland Clinic] were doing a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago.
Philip Betbeze is the senior leadership editor at HealthLeaders.