What will 2012 bring in health care? Some of these predictions are decidedly tongue-in-cheek. Others could certainly be labeled wishful thinking. All are interesting to contemplate — and when they’re taken together, a picture of public expectations begins to emerge, from the Supreme Court ruling on health reform to cost trends.
Readers, it’s not too late: This post will evolve until 2012 actually arrives. Please post your predictions in the Comments section or click on “Get in Touch.” You can also vote on which prediction you like best. Most popular predictor will get a WBUR prize still TBD. And by the way, oh, yes, you’ll be held accountable. If fate is good, we’ll still be here one year from now and will award a booby prize to the predictor who was farthest off.
MIT economist Jonathan Gruber (The illustration above is from his new book):
• The U.S. Supreme Court will find the individual mandate [the heart of President Obama's health law] constitutional.
• Public support for health care reform will grow by the end of 2012.
• Innovations such as ACOs [accountable care organizations] and PCMH [patient centered medical homes] will grow rapidly, but there still won’t be convincing evidence that they save money in general – we need more time to build the evidence base.
• There will be continued demand for, and growth of, tiered network insurance products and high deductible plans.
• This growth will put pressure on the highest cost providers to bring their costs into line.
‘The voice of consumers angry about rising cost sharing and limited choices will continue to grow.’ – John McDonough
• Continued provider consolidation, both locally and nationally.
• Greater cost-shifting from Medicare and Medicaid, as both federal and state government continue to cut reimbursement levels. On a related side note, I think over the next few years you will see cash-based pre-paid practices opening in Boston.
• Gains in the use of high-deductible and health savings account plans nationally. The question for 2012 is whether Massachusetts will break out of its status quo and catch up. Continue reading