Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Will Election Change Healthcare Policy?

Perhaps you are one of many Americans going to vote today with a 'shopping list' of issues that cause you to like or dislike President Obama or Governor Romney.

At least one major medical association thinks healthcare should NOT be one of them.

An article by attorneys written for the Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA.   opines that healthcare reform is unlikely to change as a result of the election, citing for instance that a President must 'take care to faithfully execute the laws.'  thus important parts of the healthcare reform bill signed in 2010 would still have to be enforced regardless of who is President.  Also while the individual mandate would be a tax that a President Romney could hypothetically ask the IRS to 'not make a priority' the tax would have to be collected per the law.

What about repealing the law?  JAMA says this:

“Repealing and replacing” the ACA is unlikely, requiring Obama to lose the presidency and Republicans to hold the House and 60 Senate seats to prevent a filibuster. An alternative approach, through the budget reconciliation process, cannot be filibustered. However, the budget reconciliation process would face fierce Democratic challenges under the “Byrd Rule,” which requires the Senate parliamentarian to determine whether all aspects of the law have direct—not merely incidental—effects on federal revenue or spending.2
At Kalorama Information, we do tend to see what is of most interest to healthcare executives as a result of their market research buying.   We cannot say that a lot of buying is centered around healthcare reform policy changes.  Most executives know that either as part of President Obama's healthcare plan or a new President's austerity program that may have to come in the future anyway to control costs, they are likely to face reimbursement cuts that will impact device markets.  

There is one portion of the law that Kalorama believes may get some attention if the President is not re-elected, though even this is the medical device tax much maligned in the industry.  A combination of House Republicans and moderate Senate Democrats might take this issue on, especially with two large device companies in the state of two Democratic Senators, Minnesota.  Even this is speculation, as the device tax repeal would add to deficit spending, not a popular idea in Washington at this time.

Kalorama's White Paper - Healthcare Reform Winners and Losers is available from www.kaloramainformation.com