The federal government continues to invest heavily in the healthcare industry, spending more than $980 billion during the 2015 fiscal year. Medicare accounts for just over half of that figure, while the Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) claims roughly $353 billion, and veteran’s medical care around $61 billion.
It is claimed that US healthcare is among the best in the world, and for good reason, as it currently leads the way in research and development and cancer treatment. The long-term survival rate for breast cancer, for example, is considerably higher than in the other 35-member countries of the OECD. The US also spends 250 percent more on healthcare compared to the OECD average at $8,233 per person. There is certainly a myth that public healthcare isn’t a priority in the US, but that isn’t true as the country ranks third on public health investment, behind only Norway and the Netherlands.
All of this investment provides the healthcare industry with an incredible foundation from which to build better services for people in the US. Medicaid has also been a key part of the government’s push for healthcare for all during the last decade. Medicaid is defined as a “government insurance program for persons of all ages whose income and resources are insufficient to pay for healthcare”. This program now supports more than 70 million people, offering them financial security and high-quality care that would otherwise be out of their reach.
Unnecessary and burdensome regulations implemented by previous governments are limiting the healthcare industry’s capacity to adapt to new technology advances. That is an area where the current Republican government is looking to improve, but for the time being, hospitals and other healthcare institutions have to rely on short term, one to three-year strategies to shape the future of care.
Federal government healthcare attorney, Mike Strazzella, believes key players in the industry should keep a close eye on potential new regulations and other information coming out of Washington DC in the coming months. A desire to capitalize on any positive, new forms of legislation, coupled with a deeper understanding of customers’ needs and the latest trends, will give the industry the best chance of moving forward.
“While the industry will have an appetite for more, entrepreneurs have to be ready for slow public-sector progress, which is always a frustration,” Strazzella said. “I think we’re going to see the FDA implement processes and regulations to spark greater competition, whether that’s a generic medication or a device.” He adds: “As long as people continue to think outside the box and try and shape the policy debate around the delivery of healthcare, it will without a doubt trickle down to new ideas and concepts to try and help make health more effective.”
One area where the Republican government can support advances is data mining and record keeping. The use of data analytics can deliver a step change in the quality of healthcare for millions of Americans by crunching information about Medicaid, a patient’s income, citizen eligibility and more. Strazzella says: “We’re going to see more requirements put on places within the delivery system and checks and balances of whether somebody should be receiving the type of insurance they’re receiving, or if they’re better suited for another option.”
Mark Green’s innovative solution
American physician and Tennessee Senate representative Mark Green has been at the forefront of proposing innovative solutions to healthcare in recent years. He set out a pilot program that offers Medicaid patients more choice and control over their healthcare by using a swipe card and a reduced healthcare dollar scheme. That method allows patients to claim any dollars that are not spent and then transfer it to their earned income check. The program has proved popular and is currently waiting for approval for further testing. Check in with the Mark Green Twitter page for constant updates.
The incredible levels of investment in the healthcare industry means the US is in a great position to take advantage of the digital revolution and implement new tech such as wearables, connected devices and software, and digital health tools that will drive a step change in the level of care in the coming years. The government can provide the support the industry needs to flourish by implementing positive policies so patients, care providers and everyone involved can benefit.
The American Health Care Act of 2017, otherwise known as Trumpcare, has made a few fundamental changes to insurance and tax obligations for middle income earners, and will bring benefits to many during the next decade. However, irrespective of individual policies and regulations, US healthcare will be boosted by the lowering costs of research due to streamlined cloud solutions and the need to find new solutions and services to support an ageing population.