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The Election Is Over, But Not the Shouting

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, November 8, 2012

With so many pollsters predicting a tighter-than-ever presidential election on Tuesday, I was all but resigned to a circa 2000 redux: another long, nail-biting saga about hanging chads and recounts ad nauseum through December.

It would all end up in the Supreme Court, again, the cynic in me thought. Healthcare and the numerous imminent reform decisions, as well as decisions on who would hold key offices, would swing in the wind for days.

That didn't happen, thank goodness. Just a few hours after the polls closed in the West, almost all the players in all the key slots were known, and the rest should be by week's end.

But for those in healthcare, there are monumental tasks ahead. Contrary to what President Obama said in his victory speech, the worst is yet to come.

We've got the fiscal cliff to worry about on January 1, a lame duck Congress, a sustainable growth rate (SGR) decision that must be made by year's end to preserve physician access for Medicare beneficiaries, talk of "Grand Bargains" and "New Grand Bargains," and how to finance the Eastern seaboard's disaster relief. There's a debt ceiling vote due sometime in February, or maybe June.

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