BY RICK WEINBERG, CALIFORNIA BUSINESS JOURNAL
Few people in the country understand the broken American healthcare system better than Harry Nelson, a leading regulatory attorney in the healthcare field. Nelson, who founded Nelson Hardiman, a 25-lawyer healthcare specialty firm, co-authored the definitive book on the fractured U.S. healthcare system.
The book, “From ObamaCare To TrumpCare: Why You Should Care,” provides a thorough and in-depth look at the malfunctioning American healthcare system – the history over the last half-century, where it is heading, and where it should go – under President Trump and beyond. The book is a must-read for anyone interested in the future of healthcare, which is one of the central issues of the Trump presidency.
Nelson and his co-author Rob Fuller, a former hospital executive and current Nelson Hardiman partner, analyze what the Affordable Care Act achieved and where it fell short, what TrumpCare is likely to look like, and make a clear, compelling case for how to fix the healthcare system. Despite publishing in January 2017, Nelson and Fuller nailed the Republican legislative approach unveiled this spring.
The book has drawn serious attention of key legislators on both sides of the political aisle who appreciate its apolitical, to-the-point approach. In contrast to the more typically divisive rhetoric, Nelson and Fuller offer a neutral and balanced perspective on how TrumpCare might make progress solving lingering long-term ObamaCare problems.
The timing of the book could not have been better. Starting immediately after the election, Nelson and Fuller worked tirelessly on the manuscript up until the day it was published in early 2017.
“We knew repeal-and-replace would be front and center in America after Donald Trump won the election,” Nelson says. “We knew people were paying attention and we wanted to seize the moment. Our goal was to facilitate constructive dialogue in the transition from ObamaCare to TrumpCare.”
Reviews have been glowing. The book is slated to be used in a college course this fall by veteran USC public health professor Dr. Josh Luke. The book is referred to as the “most factual, comprehensive and comprehensible book on healthcare reform.” A U.S. senator (whose name is being guarded to prevent the book from being pigeon-holed politically) ordered 100 copies for Senate colleagues.
“The impetus for the book was my frustration that we weren’t talking about what’s really broken in our healthcare system,” says Nelson, who advises healthcare organizations on regulatory and reimbursement strategy.
“ObamaCare was far from perfect, but labeling it a disaster is unfair,” he adds. “The demonization of the Affordable Care Act and Republican healthcare plans has kept us from tackling the bigger questions of affordability and how to improve health outcomes. We’re paying too much and getting too little, and that needs to change.”
If anyone has insights to offer, it’s Nelson and Fuller. They have explored nearly every nook and cranny of the industry as lawyers and as business executives. Nelson, a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, made his name helping early-stage healthcare companies navigate regulations in telehealth, bioscience, and behavioral health, along with more established sectors.
Fuller, meanwhile, earned his reputation running an acute care hospital for over a decade. His hands-on work turning around distressed healthcare operations led to a now legendary increase in hospital valuation. An early fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Fuller regularly advises healthcare CEOs on their organizational challenges.
“The feedback on the book from people in serious policy positions has been gratifying,” Nelson says. “We’re glad to advance the dialogue and promise an updated version as soon as the dust settles in Washington, D.C.”