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With President Barack Obama’s re-election, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will likely stay in place for another four years, despite roaring opposition from Republicans.

On Friday, Penn’s Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics hosted a health policy seminar with Democratic Rep. Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania’s 13th district to discuss the future of health care with the PPACA in place.

Approximately 100 students and professionals, including LDI Executive Director Daniel Polsky, gathered at Huntsman Hall to hear the congresswoman speak.

Schwartz, who just won reelection by nearly a 2 to 1 margin, will soon be beginning her fifth term in Congress. Schwartz is also known as one of the leading health care experts in government, playing a significant role in Congress to strengthen primary care, improve access to quality health care coverage for all people — especially children and seniors — and reform aspects of Medicare.

Schwartz explained the many issues health care professionals and patients have been facing with PPACA. “For a regular person just saying, ‘I want health coverage,’ making sure that they have the information they need to sign up for health coverage and health care [is critical].”

Much of the discussion was focused on how health care professionals and policy makers have begun to work cooperatively to integrate the PPACA into the existing system and make it effective. Senior LDI Fellow David Grande said, “I think overall the climate has changed. I mean, more and more doctors recognize that the system is not going to fix itself.” Grande also said, “During the debate around the Affordable Care Act you saw a big shift in the role that medical organizations played, where they were very much at the table, trying to suggest improvements to policy, being supportive of these kinds of changes.”

Similarly, Schwartz explained that there is no one perfect model for health care in this country. She said, “It’s exciting. There are a lot of opportunities for hospitals to take leadership and explore ways to reach out to their patients to make sure they get the kind of care that they need.“

Suchitra Chandrasekaran, a member of the audience and a maternal-fetal medicine fellow at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, agreed. “I think the one way that the congresswoman pinned a nail on the head is with the idea that there are different models that are probably needed out there,” she said. “So, I think instead of just going with a for or against attitude, it’s actually important to try to understand what’s driving the actual act and what can we, as physicians, be collective about, to make these ultimate changes.”

Audience members were very pleased with the opportunity to hear Schwartz. Lisa Levine, another maternal-fetal medicine fellow at HUP, said, “It’s important to hear her take on it and see where she sees the future going in terms of health care and getting coverage for that group of people that still unfortunately don’t get health care.”

Similar to Levine, Chandrasekaran said, “A lot of times, as physicians, we get so driven into our land of medicine, it is easy for us to forget the site of it and how much it affects us. It’s important to actually be involved and understand what’s going on from the coverage side, and how the health care reforms are going to impact us.”

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