The Biomedical Ethics Committee of Hackensack University Medical Center recently presented the 16th Annual Biomedical Ethics Symposium entitled, “The Ethics of Healthcare Reform and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).” The program’s keynote speaker was Ezekiel J. Emanuel, M.D., Ph.D., a respected oncologist and one of President Barak Obama’s closest health policy advisors.
“The Biomedical Ethics Symposium provided physicians, other healthcare professionals and members of the community with an overview of the ethical issues raised by healthcare reform and the impact of the Affordable Care Act,” said Robert C. Garrett, president and chief executive officer of Hackensack University Health Network. “Ezekiel Emanuel is central to improving the dialogue on U.S. healthcare and HackensackUMC was fortunate to have him lead this symposium.”
The event, which was complimentary and open to the public, gave attendees an overview of the Affordable Care Act signed into law in March of 2010 and will take effect in 2014.
Dr. Emanuel, professor and chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, says under the ACA, everyone in the United States will receive some form of health insurance. He told the audience that individuals have a moral duty to at least have insurance that covers emergency care.
"Eventually, everyone is going to need healthcare," Dr. Emanuel said. "The Affordable Care Act will result in less unnecessary services, fewer medical errors and fewer hospital acquired infections and everyone will have an electronic health record. We’ll have a very improved system galvanized by the ACA."
After Dr. Emanuel’s keynote address, the second part of the program included a panel discussion, “The Ethical Challenges of Healthcare Reform,” which was moderated by Linda Farber Post, J.D., MA, BSN, the director of Bioethics at HackensackUMC.
“Healthcare reform in general and the ACA in particular raise issues of profound ethical significance to the caregiving and lay communities,” said Ms. Post. “Underlying the fiscal, logistical and political concerns are issues of justice, professional responsibility and moral agency. Dr. Emanuel’s keynote address articulately illuminated these and other relevant matters through the bioethics lens with knowledge and passion. ”
Photo caption: The Biomedical Ethics Committee of Hackensack University Medical Center presented the 16th Annual Biomedical Ethics Symposium recently. The event provided attendees with an overview of the ethical issues raised by healthcare reform and the impact of the Affordable Care Act. Pictured from left to right: Melvin Polkow, M.D., co-chair, Biomedical Ethics Committee and co-director, Pulmonary Critical Care Section, HackensackUMC; Louis Teichholz, M.D., chief and medical director, Division of Cardiology, HackensackUMC; Linda Farber Post, J.D., MA, BSN director, Bioethics, HackensackUMC; Ezekiel J. Emanuel, M.D., Ph.D; Kelly Briggs, R.N., manager, Department of Service Excellence , HackensackUMC; Peter Gross, M.D., chair, Hackensack Alliance ACO, HackensackUMC; and Morey Menacker, D.O., president and chief executive officer, Hackensack Alliance ACO and vice-chair, Department of Medicine, HackensackUMC.