Post election — where do we go from here?

A month ago we had a national election — and it brought about major changes in the political landscape, nationally and in North Carolina.

In our state the Republicans will control the House and the Senate in the General Assembly — for the first time in more than a century.

The new leaders are getting their teams in order, and getting organized for the important work ahead — within each chamber, between the chambers and with the Governor.

North Carolina’s state budget is in great difficulty, and they all have their work cut out for them.

As a private citizen and as a leader of a major state institution, I surely hope all our leaders are successful with this effort.

In Washington, where I am as I write this, change is afoot too.

The Republicans will soon control the House of Representatives, and their numbers are substantially expanded in the Senate.

The Nation’s House is not in order — as you can tell in a variety of ways. One clear metric is our huge annual budget deficits and the staggering accumulating national debt.

The plan that Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson have laid out is bold and controversial — but I really like it. It gores everyone’s oxen somewhat — and moves us a long way toward fiscal responsibility.

We just have to relearn how to live within our means — as individuals and as a country.

But the days and weeks and months ahead will be difficult and challenging, for our elected officials and our senior appointed leaders.

I am in DC for a board meeting of the National Quality Forum, which I chair. Health Reform passed into law eight months ago — and the recent political changes will make the path toward implementation even more problematic. I continue to support overhaul of our Nation’s health care delivery and financing system.

Monday evening I had dinner with my friend Don Berwick, the CMS Administrator, and yesterday I visited at the White House with my friend Nancy-Ann DeParle, President Obama’s health reform advisor. They each are realistic about the issues ahead, but very committed to getting the important work done.

As CEO of UNC Health Care, the largest provider of uncompensated care in North Carolina, we really need to do all we can to help them get it done and done right.

There is a lot at stake in our country and our state right now — in health care and in our public life together. This is serious work, and it deserves our collective best efforts.

Stay tuned!

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