Partners CEO offers glimpse into his December meeting with Donald Trump
The week between Christmas and New Year’s was busier than expected for the chief executive of Boston-based Partners Healthcare.
Dr. David Torchiana, who runs the state’s largest health care system, hustled down to Donald Trump’s sunny Florida estate after being summoned to meet with the president-elect and several other health care executives.
President-elect Trump, who has promised to throw out the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, did not bring up his plans to ditch the law during the Dec. 28 sit-down, Torchiana said on Tuesday.
“It didn’t really come up. . . . They didn’t raise it, and we didn’t really have a conversation about that,” Torchiana said in a brief interview. He quickly added: “Obviously, everybody has concerns.”
Partners, whose hospitals include Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s, and the rest of the hospital industry have benefited from Obamacare, which helped 20 million Americans gain insurance coverage. Torchiana is among many in the health care industry opposed to Trump’s plans to repeal the law, worrying the move could leave millions of Americans without coverage.
Torchiana said the focus of the meeting was on biomedical research and health care for veterans. “I think the reason why he focused on these two [issues] is because he has appointments that he’s got to get made,” Torchiana said.
As for the health care law, Torchiana said: “He’s not going to decide what he does on that one based on talking with four guys from academic health systems, I don’t think.”
The Partners chief said he doesn’t like to discuss his personal politics but acknowledged that he did not vote for Trump. He said Trump seemed “very interested and very engaged” during the recent meeting, and that he’d be open to sitting down with the incoming president again.
Three others health care CEOs attended the December meeting: Dr. Paul Rothman of Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Medicine, Dr. Toby Cosgrove of the Cleveland Clinic, and Dr. John Noseworthy of Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic.
“The four leaders of the four top medical centers in the country had a very productive and beneficial meeting, and Boston can be proud that the head of the Partners organization was there,” said Dr. Bruce Moskowitz, a physician in West Palm Beach, Fla., who joined the CEOs in the meeting with Trump. “I think everybody was pleased.”
Trump has been meeting with executives from many different companies as he prepares to take office next week. On Tuesday, he urged Congress to immediately repeal and quickly replace the Affordable Care Act, calling it a “catastrophic event” in an interview with the New York Times.