4 FEBRUARY 2017 Consulting®
ShortTakes Trends, Views and Analysis
The End of Obamacare?
Oliver Wyman’s Stone on what’s next for healthcare and the ACA under Trump
During the highly contested
2016 U.S. presidential election,
Donald Trump made dismantling Obamacare—the Affordable Care Act—a cornerstone
promise of his campaign. Now
with him in the White House,
everyone on the healthcare
continuum, from the insured
themselves to providers to the
payers are anxiously waiting
to see what’s going to happen.
Consulting sat down with
Terry Stone, Health & Life Sciences Lead for Oliver Wyman, to
talk about what comes next for
healthcare consulting amidst
the uncertainty ahead.
Consulting: If the Affordable Care Act goes
away what will be the immediate impact
on the Healthcare consulting market?
Stone: The biggest immediate impact is
the amount of uncompensated care that
essentially gets thrown back on the books
of the healthcare delivery system. Tens
of millions of who had insurance and the
health systems were being reimbursed are
going to go back to using the ER. Hos-
pitals have to pay for that, and they pass
it along in the form of increased costs
to the insurers, and eventually it hits the
economy in the form of the wallets of the
employers who are providing health insur-
ance. That’s going to put a real strain on
hospitals, but it’s going to put even more
pressure on cost and efficiency, and there’s
probably going to be a lot more strategy
work around portfolio optimization; how
much of what they have is Medicare pa-
tients reimbursed at a certain amount ver-
sus how many commercial patients.
Consulting: How does Trump’s back-
and-forth on the issue present unique
Stone: There could be a freezing of action
in the market due to uncertainty. There are
timelines upon timelines for developing
products, filing with regulators, making
sure they’ll be viable in the market. With
the flip-flopping all over, we can wind up in
another situation where there isn’t enough
clarity soon enough. So there’ll be some
initial work where people are trying to analyze and assess impact, but then there will
be a little seizing and freezing when no
one’s sure what they’re actually building
towards. They’re talking about fundamentally changing benefit structures, fundamentally changing what the tax benefits of
employee-sponsored healthcare look like.
All these things have huge impacts on what
our clients’ products look like, and those are
the types of things that could cause people
from a consulting standpoint to not move
forward until there’s more clarity.
Consulting: What should healthcare
stakeholders prioritize knowing that
changes are coming but not knowing what
they will be?