If I had to describe 2012 in a word, it would be “leadership.”
Nationwide, statewide, and in my own career, the need for effective leadership is a theme that popped up many times throughout the year.
This year’s presidential election elicited the diverse opinions of Americans about the kind of leadership we want and expect from our elected officials. In particular, health care reform was a major topic of debate as leaders discussed whether or not the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is the best way to address health reform.
UnitedHealthcare’s leadership team agreed to uphold key parts of the law, including coverage of preventive services with no copayments, coverage for dependents up to age 26, a ban on lifetime limits, no rescissions of coverage except in cases of fraud, and a requirement to give consumers clear and timely options to appeal a denial of payment, before the Supreme Court’s decision.
We made the decision because we think it’s good for people’s health, promotes broader access to quality care, and helps control rising health care costs. And when it comes down to it, real reform happens when good leaders do what’s best for the people they serve.
This year marked a milestone for UnitedHealthcare in
as we opened community storefront offices in Edison and .
These offices serve everyone in the community, but pay special attention
to the needs of ethnic populations that may have trouble accessing health care
due to language or cultural barriers. Working directly with the community helps
our leaders better understand the needs of all our customers and overcome any
barriers that stand in the way of them getting the health care they need. Lakewood
2012 will be remembered as the year Super storm
one of the most damaging storms in U.S.
and our neighboring states. But amid the
destruction, there were many moments of great leadership. From the national assistance dispatched by
President Obama to the hands-on work of Governor Christie to the tireless
efforts of our public health workers and emergency responders to the financial
contributions from corporations, we saw leaders put aside their differences to
accomplish something important in a time of need. I was especially proud of the grass-roots Hurricane
Sandy relief my local team here in New Jersey provided across the state. From gutting homes to preparing meals and
setting up food-banks, UnitedHealthcare employees volunteered many hours in
communities hardest hit by the storm. New
This December, the residents of
are on all of our
minds. As we grieve with the families of
those innocent children and their educators, the need is greater than ever for
our leaders to make the best and most responsible decisions about how we can
protect our children and families. Newtown,
And as the year draws to a close, we can celebrate a health victory for
. The United Health Foundation’s 2012 New Jersey America’s Health Rankings revealed that New Jersey jumped from ranking as ’s 17th
healthiest state in 2011 to 8th in 2012.
While there are areas that can be improved, such as reducing the number
of smokers in the state, the Rankings show that with good leaders, diligent
public health workers, and a population that’s educated about their health, we
can make real and measurable progress. America
The events of 2012 brought many lessons in leadership, ones that I hope we remember
as we address the challenges and celebrate the successes in the coming year.
To all my readers, I wish you a healthy, safe and happy holiday season!