Monday, January 6, 2014

Health Care Reform – How Will it Affect Pharma?

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Today, we feature a post from ePharma Summit Media Partner PharmaVoice.


Health care reform in the U.S. does not come easily or without great effort. We’ve had five major instances of reform in the last 50 years.

1965: Medicare
1985: COBRA
1996: HIPAA
1997: SCHIP
2010: PPACA

It’s not a reach to conclude that the first four instances have been successful. This gives one hope that the current wave of reform will also be looked upon favorably by future generations. We have a lot of work to do before we can be comfortable with that prediction.

The PPACA, often referred to as “Obamacare” has been hotly contested by the partisan political parties since it was proposed.

Proponents see many benefits to our residents. Access to healthcare is the most obvious one. Millions of people who could not afford health care will be part of the new system. Another big one is that there can be no refusal/cancellation of benefits due to a pre-existing medical condition. This is huge for millions of people.

Opponents bring many issues to the table, which point to some of the problems with the PPACA. Participation is mandatory for those without other coverage, or the non-participants will be fined. Coverage for unnecessary components is required, such as maternity coverage for couples who can’t or will never have any more children. The inability to continue seeing ones’ current doctors, as promised, is a big sticking point. Higher premiums compared to ones' prior plan is also mentioned by residents.

A faulty website(https://www.healthcare.gov/) is not helping the transition into the new health care regime. Applications are way below predictions, and certain targets must be met for the system to work. But if the website is fixed, the numbers may improve throughout the application period.

It is estimated that the number of uninsured residents will be reduced by 32 million. This may place a heavy burden on those who have already been covered by health plans, as the new participants may have to be subsidized by all participants. 32 million new participants could be a tremendous boon for
Pharma. That’s 32 million people who may not have been able to afford the appropriate prescription medication in the past. That’s quite a boost to the existing market.

Conclusion
How will the future view the current health care reform policies? Will Pharma benefit? We won’t truly know until we get there, but we still have opportunities to make an impact on whether it is a smooth transition or a very bumpy ride.

We’d like to know what you think. Please tweet your thoughts and opinions using hashtag #hcreform, and participate in an ongoing discussion. Feel free to leave your comment under this blog post as well.

References:
http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/healthreform/

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