President Barack Obama's re-election reaffirms the future of the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 law which expands coverage and nudges the nation's health system away from fee-for-service medicine. But harsh financial pressures -- a looming $600 billion "fiscal cliff" and a growing long-term debt -- will add to an already challenging implementation plan. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the ACA reduces the deficit over the next decade, a finding that will help Obama protect core elements of the law. At the same time, the president himself has indicated a willingness to reduce federal health spending, raising the prospect of tighter margins for the industry.
To succeed in the future, the $2.8 trillion health sector must move beyond one-time cost reductions and fundamentally transform the way it operates. Demonstrating real value to purchasers such as employers, government and individual consumers will be critical in an era of financial belt-tightening. Improving quality by capitalizing on the promise of technology and a better consumer experience is required. Capturing a piece of the newly-insured market offers an injection of cash for providers, insurers and life sciences companies.
Click to launch our timeline to see how stakeholders will be impacted by the rollout of ACA