Feb. 15, 2017 | Former U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor gave some UAMS College of Public Health alumni a firsthand look recently at the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Pryor was the featured speaker Feb. 10 during the annual Alumni Association luncheon for the College of Public Health Master of Health Services Administration/Master of Health Administration (MHSA/MHA), which included faculty, staff and students and UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn.
During his “Reflections on Healthcare Reform,” Pryor explained why the ACA needed to exist, but also why health reform was so hard to address.
“All the trend lines in health care were bad. Costs were up, accessibility was down, affordability was down, Medicare was being squeezed, and small businesses were dropping out. It was time for a major overhaul, and it was the right thing to do,” Pryor said.
Pryor was in the Senate when it approved the act in 2009, with the U.S. House of Representatives approving in 2010 and President Barak Obama signing it into law that same year.
Pryor said that though the health care system was complex, he felt strongly that the country needed the ACA to improve the system.
Regarding the future of the ACA, Pryor believes it will get repealed, but not until a plan is laid out for replacing it.
He said he hopes in Washington, D.C., and in Congress right now “that someone is asking the questions: What is the best policy? What should we do? What’re we really trying to achieve here?”
Afterward, he answered questions from the audience about the current policy framework, how to make voices heard on the local level and how affordability, access, and quality of care are defined on the national level.
Pryor earned a reputation of working with both parties to pass meaningful legislation. He now leads Veneable, LLC’s Legislative and Government Affairs and State Attorneys General practice groups.