Blue Cross CEO: The time is now for Congress to act on health care

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Independence Blue Cross is the only insurer remaining in the individual market in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Millions of people across the country are waiting to hear what health care coverage they will have access to on the federal exchange — and what it will cost.  Insurance companies have less than two weeks to finalize their plans for 2018 and commit to participating in the individual marketplace. But there is still great uncertainty in Washington. That is why I am continuing to speak out on behalf of our members and urge a bipartisan solution to get health care right.

Now is the time for our leaders in the public and private sectors to join together, free of politics and ideology, to create the health care our citizens need and deserve.

Health care isn’t a Democratic issue, and it isn’t a Republican issue. Our congressional leaders in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Sens. Pat Toomey, a Republican, and Bob Casey, a Democrat, are prime examples of public servants who are willing to find middle ground and focus on what benefits the people of our commonwealth.

We need thoughtful leaders in Congress to follow their example and make decisions to improve the efficiency and affordability of health care based on what really works. This is about creating a better tomorrow, a generation of citizens healthier than those before it.

It starts with stepping forward, not backward. It starts with our elected officials being willing to take a step to the middle. Find compromise and show good will.

There’s still a lot of work to be done. The Affordable Care Act was successful in expanding access to coverage for more Americans. Now we need to live up to its name and focus on making it truly affordable. With the public and private sectors working together for the good of the people, I know we can create more comprehensive and more affordable health care for tomorrow.

As the only insurer remaining in the individual market in Southeastern Pennsylvania, we remain committed to the people we serve — as we were when the Affordable Care Act was first implemented — and will continue to be actively engaged until this situation is resolved.

The window to make a positive impact is closing. Philadelphians are relying on Congress to make a swift and prudent decision.

Daniel J. Hilferty is president and CEO of Independence Blue Cross. newsroom@ibx.com