2017 was a whirlwind year for health care policy and change. We watched as the drama of the ACA repeal and replace conversation has twisted and turned, we heard the troubling statistics related to the opioid crisis and we are now on the cusp of a tax reform bill and the implementation of the Cures Act – both of which have implications for the health care industry.
That’s a lot to chew on. In this episode of The Cerner Podcast, Meg Marshall helps us understand these moving pieces and what they mean for the health care industry. Meg is the senior director of public policy at Cerner, where she has spearheaded important policy changes to improve health care for consumers.
Meg answers the following questions:
- In December 2017, the Republican tax bill passed and President Trump signed it into law. Part of this bill will repeal the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate to pay for tax cuts. Let’s unpack this a little bit: Can you detail what the ACA's individual mandate is and some of the controversy surrounding it? How exactly does the individual mandate factor into the tax reform bill, and what does that mean for the health care industry?
- At the beginning of 2017, the dominant issue of the Trump office was repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. With Republicans unable to push a repeal/replace forward, it appears the ACA is sticking around – at least for the moment. Can you give us a status update on the ACA? What’s next in the repeal/replace conversation, and what does this mean for health care providers?
- Trump has picked Alex Azar, a former top pharmaceutical and government executive, to be Price’s replacement at the HHS. Based on his background, Azar is an interesting choice to head up a $1 trillion department responsible for major health insurance programs, including Obamacare, as well as medical research, food and drug safety and public health. Can you tell us what we might expect from Azar, should he be confirmed as the new HHS secretary?
- We’re right on the edge of seeing the 21st Century Cures Act implemented. Obama signed the Cures Act into law at the end of 2016, allocating $10.5 billion with goals of reducing the burdens of providers using electronic health records and advancing interoperability. It’s a hefty act which requires the Office of the National Coordinator to facilitate the “trusted exchange” of electronic health information across health care networks. What can you tell us about the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA)? What’s the timeline on that, and how will it impact health care providers and health IT companies alike?
- Looking at 2018, what do you feel are going to be the most prominent health care policy issues facing the industry?
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