Change is the Only Constant in Bloomberg Law’s 2018 Health Care Outlook

ARLINGTON, VA (January 16, 2017) — Bloomberg Law today issued its 2018 Health Care Outlook, which looks at the year ahead and explores what to expect from the federal regulatory agencies, Capitol Hill and the insurance industry — along with the top 10 legal trends facing health care providers and payers in 2018 according to the Bloomberg Law Health Care Advisory Board.

“This year all eyes are again on the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress as they push for health care policy and regulatory changes, including continued efforts to repeal Obamacare, slowing the growth of Medicaid, and reforming Medicare,” said Lisa Rockelli, Bloomberg Law’s News Director for Health Care.  “Health care attorneys are telling us they are facing more policy and business questions from their hospital and provider clients than ever before, and they rely on Bloomberg Law for news and industry intelligence to enable them to provide sound counsel in an evolving landscape.”

Highlights of the Outlook include:

Regulatory: The administration’s first year left unanswered questions that linger for health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act and about the future of Medicaid. Health insurers will be looking for ACA market stability, which has proven elusive, while the Medicaid program is poised to include major changes to push beneficiaries toward self-sufficiency. The chief issue for the health insurance industry will be creating a viable individual market without the unpopular individual mandate.  The fraud landscape is likely to be dominated by the nationwide opioid abuse crisis but will also see an escalation in administrative enforcement of fraud and abuse laws.

Legislative: Republicans in Congress are rolling out an ambitious health agenda, seeking to achieve long-lasting policy goals, including repealing Obamacare, slowing the growth of Medicaid, and reforming Medicare. The GOP is hoping to use its majority in both chambers of Congress to achieve these long-held goals, but it faces an uphill battle tackling these thorny issues in an election year. Also drawing lawmakers’ attention will be rising drug prices and a related battle over the federal government’s drug discount program. In addition, lawmakers will need to reauthorize funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides coverage for about nine million low-income children across the country.

The Top 10 Issues Facing Health Care Attorneys: According to the Bloomberg Law Health Care Advisory Board’s annual list of top 10 issues facing health care attorneys, health care policy tops the list for the second year in a row given the continued debate on Capitol Hill regarding the fate of the Affordable Care Act.  Fraud and abuse is second on the list as attorneys will have heavy caseloads as the government’s pipeline of cases remains deep.  Rounding out the top five are industry consolidation, Medicare, and Medicaid.

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