By Nikola Philpott

President Barack Obama is back in the White House for another four years, Democrats control the Senate, and Republicans control the House.  What does this mean for the future of healthcare reform?

We looked at several articles that discussed the potential impact of the elections on the healthcare reform law and compiled a brief summary for you.

» The healthcare reform law is here to stay; however, states will play a significant role in how the law is implemented.  Continued resistance from several states could create a divide that would likely damage other successes.

» A Republican controlled House of Representatives is likely to continue symbolic repeal votes, push for concessions, and look for ways to get money out of the Affordable Care Act when negotiating the budget.  Negotiations on the “fiscal cliff” could threaten funds for health information exchanges, Medicaid expansion, and potentially even the meaningful use program.

» State-level resistance to health information exchanges and Medicaid expansion is likely to continue on some level.

» A November 16th deadline for states to inform the Obama Administration of their intent to establish a health insurance exchange is fast approaching.  Some opposition will continue, but it is anticipated that many states still on the fence will declare that they will establish their own health insurance exchange or form a partnership with HHS rather than leave it entirely to the federal government.

» Future battles between federal and state lawmakers over healthcare reform are not likely to impact ongoing market trends, including the following:

– Shift to payment for value and outcomes and away from fee-for-service.

– Focus on prevention and coordination of care.

– Increased use of information technology.

» Healthcare IT adoption is considered important to both political parties.  Strong interest and demand in the health IT sector is likely to keep private funding for health IT advancements stable.  However, looming budget battles could threaten future federal investments.

» HHS is expected to release several new regulations following the conclusion of the elections.   Details on the following are expected in the coming weeks:

– What health insurance policies must cover?

– Who will govern health insurance exchanges?

– Individual Mandates

– Community Rate Requirements – what premiums insurers can charge?

– Guaranteed Issue Rule

» The Affordable Care Act is expected to increase the number of insured by 30 million people over the next decade, while a physician shortfall is projected to reach 45,000.  Demand for physician assistants and nurse practitioners will continue to rise in order to compensate for shortages.

For More Information

For an overview of each candidates’ views on key Health Reform issues compiled by the National Association of Health Underwriters visit: http://healthreform.com/election-2012-the-politics-of-healthcare/

For an illustration of the implications of the elections on healthcare reform developed by Leavitt Partners visit: http://healthreformbracketology.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/LP-Bracketology-Oct.pdf

Articles referenced:

“One big winner in Tuesday’s vote: health reform,” vitals.nbcnews.com, November 7, 2012, http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/11/07/14982892-one-big-winner-in-tuesdays-vote-health-reform?lite.

“Obama wins, but the future for ACA and HIT is still uncertain,” healthcareitnews.com, November 7, 2012, http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/obama-wins-future-aca-and-hit-still-uncertain.

“AMA, others respond to Obama’s win,” healthcareitnews.com, November 7, 2012, http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/ama-others-respond-obamas-win.

“How Obama’s Re-election Will Change Medical Practice Staff,” physicianspractice.com, November 7, 2012, http://www.physicianspractice.com/blog/how-obamas-re-election-will-change-medical-practice-staff.

”US election results: Barack Obama win clears healthcare reform hurdle, challenges remain,” economictimes.indiatimes.com, November 7, 2012, http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/us-election-results-barack-obama-win-clears-healthcare-reform-hurdle-challenges-remain/articleshow/17127076.cms.

“The State Of Implementation: Health Reform And The 2012 Elections,” healthaffairs.org, November 5, 2012, http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2012/11/05/the-state-of-implementation-health-reform-and-the-2012-elections/.

“Post-election flood of ‘Obamacare’ rules expected,” politico.com, November 5, 2012, http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1112/83291.html.

“The most important issue of this election: Obamacare,” washingtonpost.com, October 26, 2012, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/10/26/the-most-important-issue-of-this-election-health-reform/.

“Healthcare Will Continue to Evolve No Matter Presidential Election,” physicianspractice.com, October 26, 2012, http://www.physicianspractice.com/healthcare-will-continue-evolve-no-matter-presidential-election.

“Strong HIT market expected to be unaffected by election, expert says,” healthcareitnews.com, October 23, 2012, http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/strong-hit-market-expected-be-unaffected-election-expert-says-0.