As we mark the third anniversary of the passing of the Affordable Care Act it is very interesting how little is really known about the legislation. Very few people know what is actually in it for them. Oh, we have been made well aware of some of the negatives and positives the political pundits want us know about, but have we really dug into the law to see how we can all personally benefit?
It might be worthwhile to take a look at this Kaiser report in the Huffington Post that has a very interesting video clip (don’t worry it’s not actually an Obama speech) and some graphs that really drive this point home. Note the comments on how many actually still think there are “death panels” and a “public option” in the bill. The most interesting and revealing statistic is the over 20% who have no idea whether they like or dislike the bill. The number of people who don’t understand the bill is still very high, with the worst being the uninsured and lower income folks who will really benefit from the healthcare changes. Some would argue this is a PR disaster but others would see it as a huge opportunity.
One of the most interesting things about the Kaiser report is that most of the negative aspects of the bill are now pretty well known by consumers, but the more positive aspects are not. People still don’t fully understand the donut hole changes, the healthcare insurance exchanges and the tax credits that are central parts of the legislation and the parts that could significantly change an individual’s life. Maybe this is a function of the bill being rolled out so slowly during the last three years with most of the benefits really kicking in at the end of the year. This cries out as “opportunity” for both individuals and companies in our industry.
From an individual standpoint it might be worth the effort to really get to know what is in the legislation. Read the story of a young entrepreneur who has figured this out. His story is not unique. There are millions of people with some sort of underlying medical condition that makes getting health insurance cost prohibitive. Most realize or think the only way to have coverage is to work for a large company that provides insurance under their group plan. Whether this is true or not, there is a huge fear of not being covered when they leave the big company. There will be a shift from big companies to startups beginning next year when people realize how easy it will be to get individual or small business coverage through the exchanges. When individuals realize this will be supplemented in the early years as they are building their businesses and incomes, this will be even more attractive. There is also a tremendous opportunity available to those who will make the system work. IT companies and insurance companies are scrambling to fill voids brought about by the changes. Just listen to one of the CMS teleconferences to hear all the entrepreneurs figuring out ways to profit, with government help, from the changes.
It really is time for the pharmaceutical industry to figure out how they too can benefit from all the changes. Companies should set up internal think tanks to pore through the legislation in order to figure out how to both help and profit from the changes. There are an incredible number of opportunities just brought about by the health insurance exchanges and the ACO’s. By getting consumers excited about the changes there is a huge opportunity in just engaging people in upgrading their healthcare and obviously their health. This period could be compared to the industrial revolution when huge changes led to huge opportunities. Stop fighting the change and figure out what really is in it for you and/or your company.