“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”
Martin Luther King Jr
For a private practice owner in the United States, as indeed for American politics, reimbursements and health care have always been a source of passionate debate.
The health care reform bill that was passed by the House yesterday has deeply divided the American people, and unlike major pieces of legislation (Social Security, Medicaid) was passed without broad bipartisan support. This fight is far from over; the dust yet to settle. We will hear about several lawsuits declaring the bill as unconstitutional in the coming weeks. At the time of writing this article, members of the Senate have yet to sign off on these changes. (In all likelihood, there will be amendments and challenges to the bill, but the undercurrent of the process has strong implications for the future of private practice owners.)
I consider this the most significant health care bill since the enactment of Medicare in 1965.
WHAT’S GOING TO CHANGE?
President Obama’s health care bill will extend health care to tens of millions of Americans and prevent insurance companies from turning down coverage to individuals with preexisting conditions. ‘Health Insurance Exchanges’ will be created in 2014, which will make it easier for small businesses, the self-employed and the unemployed to pool resources and purchase coverage that costs less.
Also, if you buy a policy, health insurance providers will not be able to place a cap on how much will be covered. This is especially important for patients diagnosed with life threatening illnesses, facing exorbitant medical bills.
If the Senate approves the House’s changes to the bill, coverage will be mandated by the federal government. Individuals could pay fines if they do not buy health coverage, with a hardship exemption and subsidies for poorer Americans.
Tax credits will also be provided to families to help offset the costs of health care premiums. The amount of tax credits will be based on household income. Medicaid will also be expanded to include more Americans.
This is part of the President’s plan for ‘universal health care’.
While the bill was greeted with jubilation by Democrats, every Republican voted against it, and their contention is that the bill will push the government further into debt and enhance interference from the government.
WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU
What impact will this bill have for private practice owners? Will it signal a new wave of declining reimbursements, and alter the fortunes of practices that deal with Medicare and Medicaid primarily? Now more than ever, it’s important for you to differentiate and structure niche, cash based programs, carving out your own unique patient markets before insurance companies engage in inevitable cost cutting (as they scramble to deal with the aftershocks of the reform).
The jury is still out on the exact aftershock, but I have a 3 step plan, which is why I am conducting an emergency webinar to address this on Wednesday night at 8 pm EST to explain this situation and answer your questions on:
– What this bill means
– What impact it can have on your practice
– What you can do about it, NOW.
You can sign up for the webinar here.
Again, the date is Wednesday, March 24th at 8 pm EST