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Dec20
Three Questions Revisited

Early this year, I posted an article where I asked three questions I was looking topast_mirror.jpg answer this year about healthcare.  I promised that I would be tracking these topics, but I was also looking to develop a perspective on these issues throughout the course of the year.  Given this, I thought it would be appropriate to revisit these questions to see how things have evolved since January.  Following are my observations.

 

Question 1: What will it take to convince the public to fully embrace consumer-driven healthcare?

Overall, the verdict is still out on whether the public is ready for or fully understands consumer-driven healthcare.  One reason is that the public debate has been dominated by the conversation about the uninsured.  Another is that enrollment in Health Savings Accounts, while increasing, has been anemic.  However, others disagree. For example, Greg Scandlen, president of Consumers for Health Care Choices, has argued that Health Savings Accounts (and by extension consumerism) are having the expected impact.

On the other hand, the emergence of the Health 2.0 movement – which is philosophically aligned with consumerism – means that a lot more people are focusing on this issue and looking to bring it into the mainstream.  

Question 2: Will the pharmaceutical industry ever “get with” social media?

In 2006, many pharmaceutical companies were still trying to figure out whether social media was important to them.  In 2007, a number of drug firms recognized that social media is important, but are still trying to determine how and whether to engage.  

Despite this, a few pharma companies have begun to experiment in this area.  Look for this activity to accelerate in 2008.

Question 3: Will individual mandates push healthcare reform forward?

The answer to this question is “yes.”  This is primarily because of the Massachusetts individual mandate experiment, which people are looking at with great interest.  It should be said that the Bay State’s effort has run into some snags.  Most importantly, enrollment was initially not meeting expectations.  However, a recent surge in interest by residents has led to the program costing more than anticipated.  Policymakers announced recently that they will cut costs by reducing payments to hospitals and physicians.  This demonstrates, once again that rationing will occur no matter who is paying the bill.

Despite, this individual mandates have been often discussed during the presidential campaign.  Although Mitt Romney has distanced himself from the plan he supported while governor of Massachusetts, others (on the Democratic side) have touted this policy solution.

Overall, its been a pleasure writing this blog over the past year.  I plan to cover some interesting future-oriented topics in the New Year, so I hope you’ll stay tuned for that.  

This will be my last post until January 2008.  However, I will be highlighting a few posts written in 2007 that I think are worth revisiting over the next few weeks.

Have a wonderful holiday season and New Year!  


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