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Northwell Health’s Michael Dowling: Hold off on ACA repeal

Northwell CEO Michael Dowling says Congress should "fix

Northwell CEO Michael Dowling says Congress should "fix what needs to be fixed within" the Affordable Care Act. Credit: Craig Ruttle

The CEO of New York’s largest health system on Thursday said Congress and the White House are trying to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act quickly because they have an unhealthy “obsession with anything associated with Obama.”

“I can’t see a logical way out of this right now and there should be a cooling-off period,” Michael J. Dowling, president and chief executive of Northwell Health, said in an interview. “Why can’t they fix what needs to be fixed within the system. Then change the name to Trumpcare. Who the hell cares?”

New Hyde Park-based Northwell is the largest private employer in the state, with 62,000 employees.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has yet to be able to find common ground within the Republican Party to pass an Obamacare replacement bill.

McConnell needs 50 of 52 Republican senators to pass a health bill. Eliminating the Affordable Care Act has no Democratic support.

President Donald Trump continues to push the Senate to pass a new health care bill. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a replacement plan in May.

Many have long feared that the Affordable Care Act was the first step toward a single-payer system, Dowling said.

“Quite frankly I’m fearful of a single-payer system also,” he said. “Every decision is micromanaged by government bureaucrats.”

Dowling advocates adjusting the current law, even though it is “far from perfect.”

“They should reduce the unnecessary myriad of overregulation issues that exist,” he said. “Doctors spend 30 percent of their time on regulations. You need regulations, but the micro-aspects of this go too far.

“They should also enhance subsidies so low-income people can buy insurance,” Dowling said.

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