Health Reform

The Affordable Care Act extends and simplifies Medicaid eligibility beginning January 1, 2014, by replacing Medicaid’s previous multiple categorical groupings and limitations with one simplified overarching rule: all individuals aged

Chicago, IL—For years, the cancer research community has pushed for the use of surrogate end points in clinical trials as a means of hastening the drug approval process. These efforts will soon bear fruit, with the anticipated release by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of its final guidance to drug manufacturers for accelerated drug approval for neoadjuvant breast cancer therapies. At ASCO 2013, the speakers discussed the potential implications for researchers, providers, and patients.

The accountable care organization (ACO) model is a new Medicare option for physicians, hospitals, and other providers to share in cost-savings. ACOs represent a dramatic change in Medicare policy and an opportunity to transform care delivery and provider alignment.

The Healthcare Reform Act—officially called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)—institutes sweeping changes across all healthcare stakeholders, including payers, providers, and plan members. In fact, the amount of change required by the PPACA is so extensive, distilling all the changes down and accounting for their impact is a serious challenge for the industry as a whole.

Rising costs pose a significant challenge to the US healthcare system. Congress, public and private payers, and other stakeholders have a significant interest in using comparative effectiveness research to control healthcare costs and support value-based purchasing. Policymakers continue to examine the framework for this research at the national level, while commercial payers are already comparing the effectiveness of products. Widespread use of comparative effectiveness data could have profound implications for manufacturers as well as the entire healthcare system.1

Taking a sweeping view of the economic trends in US healthcare, Uwe Reinhardt, PhD, James Madison Professor of Political Economy and Professor of Economics and Political Affairs at Princeton University, paints a cautiously optimistic view of healthcare spending reform. Delivering the Simon Dack Lecture at the 2009 annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology (ACC), Dr Reinhardt predicts some progress in the near future but says getting healthcare spending down will be a prolonged struggle that will take more than 1 or 2 years.

The current economic crisis offers an opportunity to focus on priorities in healthcare in an effort to enact true healthcare reform, said Len Nichols, PhD, healthcare economist and Director of the Health Policy Program at the New America Foundation, during the 2009 annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology (ACC).

Ms Nancy-Ann DeParle, Director of the White House Office of Health Reform and a former administrator with Medicare and Medicaid, says President Obama’s key goals for healthcare reform and the process to get there have a good chance of succeeding. “The goals are to keep the costs low, include private plans, provide a competitive choice for consumers, and include a government plan.”

It wasn't supposed to happen this way. The 1000-page House of Representatives healthcare reform bill, "America's Affordable Health Choices Act," was supposed to follow the new Congressional passage sequence: distribute it to all the usual suspects, read it on the cab ride to the hotel, and immediately sign it into law. So when Congressional members on both sides of the aisle started boring into the draft of the bill and came back with concern over language that only suggested a troubling threat to seniors, political veterans were caught off guard.

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