Health care executives from across the country believe that extensive changes are coming to U.S. health care in the coming years—maybe even the next two. That’s according to a new survey by national law firm Hooper, Lundy & Bookman, P.C., released in concert with its inaugural National Symposium on Health Law and Policy.
The 2019 Health Law & Policy Report was completed by 222 health care executives from across the United States. Respondent titles ranged from Chief Executive Officer to Manager, and respondents represented a wide variety of organizations.
“We wanted to bolster the conversation at the Symposium with data about the state of the health care industry,” Robert W. Lundy, Jr., Chair of Hooper, Lundy & Bookman, said. “Therefore, we conducted a study that would uncover current attitudes of health care providers and suppliers. We fielded the survey after the midterm elections and after the decision by a federal judge in Texas to strike down the Affordable Care Act. What we didn’t anticipate was for respondents to tell us that they expect significant changes in health care reform within the next two years, but it appears we’ve reached a tipping point.”
Questioned about possible changes at the state level, Medicaid expansion with exceptions (e.g., work requirements) garnered the highest concentration of selections (43 percent), ahead of Medicaid expansion (36 percent). While nearly three fourths expect major changes in federal health care reform by the end of the decade, respondents remain divided on what these changes might be, with additional value-based payment models (40 percent), Medicaid expansion with exceptions (33 percent), “executive repeal” (30 percent) and Medicaid expansion (26 percent) making up the top four selections. Notably, no significant percentage predicted Medicare-for-All or universal health care coverage would be enacted.
Lundy continued, “Despite the pervasive discussion of Medicare-for-All in the political arena, no significant percentage of providers predict it will be enacted. There seems to be a major disconnect between political aspirations and what providers think will really happen.”
The survey also found that respondents are closely watching the consequences of the country’s opioid crisis. More than two thirds said last year’s passage of HR 6, which targets substance abuse and opioid recovery, presents a challenge in serving patients with chronic pain, while a quarter expect the bill to add difficulty to telemedicine prescription regulations.
“We have a system that is a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde, in that you’ll undergo enforcement if you don’t manage someone’s pain, but at the same time you can be accused of being so profligate with pain medications – opioids – that you fear repercussions from that,” said Mark Reagan, Managing Shareholder of Hooper, Lundy & Bookman. “That’s happening everywhere.”
- Prescription drug pricing will be a primary focus at both the federal and state levels for the remainder of President Trump’s first term, as nearly four in five participants (79 percent) said efforts to control prescription drug pricing will significantly impact the market over the next two years.
- Universal insurance coverage (41 percent) was the option seen as most necessary among possible methods of cutting health care costs. However, one executive noted that universal coverage has vastly different meanings to the U.S. population. This is underscored by survey results around payment innovations in managed care, where respondents selected new plans and coverage options as the most impactful development to be expected over the next two years.
- Despite hype around telemedicine, respondents were more bullish about other patient “high touch” opportunities. Increased reliance on allied health professionals (such as nurses and physician assistants) led the pack at 45 percent. Telemedicine was selected by less than a quarter (23 percent), and respondents pointed to regulatory barriers (74 percent) as an impediment to its growth.
For more information and to download the complete 2019 Health Law & Policy Report, please visit https://www.health-law.com/symposium.html.
About Hooper, Lundy & Bookman, PC
Founded in 1987, Hooper, Lundy & Bookman PC is the largest law firm in the country dedicated solely to the representation of health care providers and suppliers. With offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Boston, and Washington, D.C., and clients in all 50 states, we meet the business, litigation, regulatory, and government relations needs of a broad array of health care providers―ranging from the largest national health care organizations to community hospitals and individual physician practices. We are pleased to be ranked by Chambers USA as Tier One: Health Care, California, and #1 for the West Region on the ABA Health Law Section’s 6th Annual “Regional Law Firm Recognition Top 10 List.” For more information, please visit our website at www.health-law.com.
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