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What Trumps Obamacare?

And what’s unlikely to change?

As the surprise of a Trump presidential victory sets in across the nation and world, businesses, organizations and people are turning their attention to Trump’s plan for the first 100 days in office. Especially those in the world of health care.

For the last 6 years, health care organizations and their physicians, staff and patients have been adapting to the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. We’ve flooded our board rooms and our markets with words like “accountability,” “patient experience” and “fee for value.” It’s clear that some big changes will likely accompany a Trump presidency, but the scope and nature of the change is uncertain. And in times of uncertainty, it helps to focus on what we know will remain stable. Here are three elements that we don’t believe will change:

  1. Patient as consumer
    • Patients are trained to think like consumers now and legislative change can’t undo that.
    • Big data abounds especially in health care and patients are well-armed to make informed decisions and physician choices.
    • Paying more out-of-pocket has given patients an evolved understanding of once vague health care concepts. They know what value looks like in health care and are unlikely to unlearn it.
  2. Emphasis on accountability
    • Physicians will likely continue to be rated and compensated on their ability to get the diagnoses correct and procedure done right the first time. Legislation may not drive this, but that patient demand created by Obamacare will.
    • Hospitals and health systems are more gated to deliver on just those services, procedures and surgeries that are deemed to fit the health need and no more. The train set in motion by reform may slow or take some turns, but won’t likely stop or go backwards.
  3. Trend towards population health
    • Keeping the population healthy will continue to be critically necessary as the age life expectancy continues to grow for both men and women, the overall population ages and consumers grow more wellness conscious. No legislation will reverse the need for population health measures and health providers will still be expected to address.
    • Good living programs fueled by insurers and community wellness outreach driven by hospitals are still key initiatives that need to be successful to keep the population healthy and out of hospitals

So the good news is that, while we don’t know what will trump Obamacare, much of the efforts of our marketing communications won’t unravel. Time will tell how we can evolve with new shifts in the legislative and legal landscape.

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