Hospital CEO says health care system broken, favors Medicare for all

By Ameet Sachdev
Chicago Tribune, July 15, 2016

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders' call for a single-payer "Medicare for all" health system during his presidential campaign didn't have a lot fans , even among fellow Democrats [PNHP note: not true]. But Bill Kottmann, president and CEO of Edward Hospital in Naperville, is sympathetic to the idea.

Kottmann said the current mix of private insurance and government insurance programs is "mind-boggling" for hospitals to figure out, let alone consumers. Moving to a health system fully funded by the government would be compassionate because it would be there for everyone, but Kottmann said he would allow people "of means" the option to receive concierge services.

"I think it's tragic that we have families who go bankrupt because they can't afford to pay medical bills," Kottmann said. "That needs to be fixed, and Obamacare, I'm sorry, didn't come close."

Kottmann's approval of a single-payer system would offend many in the health care industry, particularly private insurers, but he is not afraid of making bold statements. He is perhaps best known in the local industry for secretly wearing a listening device for the FBI for eight months in 2003 after he and his boss Pam Davis raised extortion complaints in their bid to build a hospital in Plainfield. Davis also was an FBI informant.

Kottmann, 61, would rather forget that stressful time and focus on the future, one he admits is a little scary. Chicago-area hospitals face numerous challenges, including lower admissions, new competitors and insurance company mergers.

"Let's face it: The health care system is broken in my mind, from the payment system and everything else," said Kottmann, who joined Edward in 1991 as a human resources executive and became CEO July 1. "We need a complete redo. But we have to deal with it the way it is and make the best of it."

The full article, including an interview with Kottmann, is available at the following link: