Survey: Healthcare Executives Spotlight the Sweeping Policy Changes They See Coming for the Industry

Despite a split Congress and talk on the Hill moving away from an Affordable Care Act repeal, healthcare industry executives are still expecting a whirlwind couple of years for health policy, according to a new survey.

Hooper, Lundy & Bookman, PC, a healthcare law firm, polled more than 220 healthcare executives from across the spectrum and found that 74% believe significant policy change is either very likely or somewhat likely in the next two years.

The executives flagged several areas where they expect that change to come: drug prices, value-based care and state level changes in Medicaid, in particular.

“I think there is an expectation that there will be significant continuing changes,” Robert Lundy, founding partner at the firm, told FierceHealthcare.

About half (51%) said that pharmaceutical pricing was a clear health policy priority in the immediate future, while 36% noted that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has taken significant steps to promote additional flexibility in health plans.

At the state level, 43% said Medicaid expansion with exceptions, such as work requirements, is likely to be the driving policy issue.

In addition, 62% said they expect to see increased enforcement from the administration on drug prices, 44% said the same for hospital prices and 31% see greater enforcement of prices in Medicare Advantage and accountable care organizations.

The majority of the surveyed executives also said they see drug pricing reform as making the biggest impact over the next two years—79% said they agree it will significantly change the market in the near future.

Lundy said that one hot topic where the executives diverge from public discourse is their perception of Medicare for all proposals—namely, that these proposals aren’t fully fleshed out and thus would be hard to support.

“There’s a strong sense, I think, within the healthcare community that is not realistic,” Lundy said.

Just under half of the respondents (41%) said universal coverage is key to addressing issues in healthcare, but the executives were skeptical that there would be movement in this area within the next decade.

“We’re going to hear a lot about federal healthcare reform over the next two years, but given the current political divide, it is unlikely there will be sweeping change,” Carmela Coyle, CEO of the California Hospital Association, said in the survey.

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