Author’s Note – Jonathan Fleece
Almost overnight, everything changed. I have practiced health care law since 1997, representing health care professionals and institutions of all sorts – including many physicians. In 2009, my law practice transformed itself. Barack Obama had been sworn in as the 44th President of the United States; and soon thereafter, he declared that reforming America’s health care system was one of his top agenda items. The President had enough Congressional support to see this goal through to the end; and the nation and many of my clients knew it.
Questions and uncertainly swirled through nearly every aspect of my professional life. What would health care reform look like? Who would be in control of health care after all was said and done? Was the country headed towards a socialist based health care model? How fast and to what degree would things change?
Not surprisingly, the most common questions surrounded everyone’s own self-interest, including mine. How was health care reform going to change my world? What will reform mean for me and my family? Will my profession and my business be able to adapt to the new ways? Will the quality of health care be better or worse in America? Will I make more or less money? How will this nation and taxpayers pay for it all in the midst of great local and global economic turmoil?
By late 2009, even before any health care reform laws had been passed, purely in response to the anticipation of a new health care system that few knew anything about, many of my clients began to react in unprecedented and unpredictable ways. Hospitals and physicians who had stood in opposition previously, began to partner and align in rapid fire fashion. I represented one group of doctors who had been functioning independently for decades, yet the impending threat of health care reform drove these physicians to sell their practices to a hospital system for next to nothing monetarily; and they each became salaried employees. The transaction took less than 60 days to complete, which was nearly unheard of in the commercial transactional world. (It typically takes longer than 60 days to sell or purchase a residential home, which is a far less complex transaction.)
Other groups of health care clients that had previously viewed themselves as competitors merged to become larger – based on the “safety in numbers” logic. Several health care technology clients feared that massive capital would be required to compete following health care reform, so they sold or aligned with other companies to increase their combined financial strength and market power. Examples of this sort are now the norm since health care reform became law.
Client-after-client demonstrates many symptoms of fear, uncertainty, stress and dissatisfaction, to levels and degrees that I have not previously witnessed. Since 2009, I have represented more clients making substantial business decisions triggered by these emotions than in all prior years of my practice combined. Indeed, the business and profession of health care had changed, and in a substantial way.
During this dynamic period, it became clear to me that my clients lacked a resource to explain and justify their emotions and behaviors. I too was unable to locate a single source of information that could succinctly and effectively explain to me the market forces that were driving such new, but starkly different, activity.
So David, as an internationally acclaimed futurist, and I as a national health care attorney, set out to co-author a book that would fill the informational void that existed. Simply stated, this book shares knowledge and organizes it clearly, to instill hope for a better tomorrow through a gained understanding.
The pursuit of knowledge and the eventual acquisition of it, whether we gain it through education, life lessons or otherwise, is what separates great citizens from all others; because without knowledge, humankind has no basis upon which to see a better tomorrow. Without knowledge, we simply exist versus contribute. The knowledge that readers can gain from The New Health Age: The Future of Health Care in America will help to foster contributions from all us – contributions that we cannot even begin to comprehend, yet.