Sunday, March 28, 2010

Healthcare Reform: Now What?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has passed. Twice. Healthcare reform, sought after since Teddy Roosevelt, has arrived in the United States. Now what?

The run up to this historic (I don’t use that word often or lightly) moment began maybe a year before the 2008 Presidential election and supplied increasingly higher drama as the election receded into the past and the first year of the Obama administration progressed. Everyone seemed to be caught up in the debates that were taking place in Washington, D.C.. Well, the legislation has passed and as President Obama said, ‘Armageddon didn’t occur, nothing fell from the sky on me, and it turned out to be a pretty nice day’. But, not all the bill’s provisions happen right away. Some of its key provisions don’t occur until 2014, for example, prohibiting excluding healthcare insurance coverage because of preexisting conditions by insurers. Others won’t kick in until 2018, coverage of preventative procedures and examinations without copayment requirements as another example. (See the Wikipedia article on the bill for a summary of the bill, .)

I expect that some time will need to pass before we’ll begin to understand what happens out there with this legislation. Yes, more people will be covered and that’s good for healthcare companies. But, as I’ve blogged before, the government and insurance companies will eventually use their enormous purchasing power to keep costs down. The conservatives’ concerns over rationing of healthcare may have some basis for these fears. After all, how many neurosurgeons are there in the country? More basic services may not be as affected but there could be some disruptions to the provision of care in the early days.

Could Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provide a stimulus to the economy? Possibly. More facilities and care providers will be needed. The population is aging and the Baby Boomers will be around requiring care for about another forty years or so. With the funding model being worked out, there’s a reasonable chance that this will be positive for the economy. I use the U.S. Interstate Highway System proposed by President Eisenhower as an example of the indirect benefits of government legislation.

Possible winners from healthcare reform are the outsourcers. Taylor Barnes ( ) has written an interesting article for the Christian Science Monitor that is available on Yahoo! News ( ) about Indian outsourcers and the potential for new business for them. I’ll return to this particular point in the future because it’s part of the whole healthcare story that Larry and I have been following.

Likewise, we’ll be blogging and inviting others to join us as this story continues to unfold. We won’t be lacking material.

As always, we welcome your feedback. Please contact us at We look forward to hearing from you.

Contributed by Guy de Lastin

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