Two Years In: The Impact of the ACA on Oncology

Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law more than 4 years ago, many aspects of it are fairly new, which makes it difficult to analyze the impact the law has had on the United States healthcare system.
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Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law more than 4 years ago, many aspects of it are fairly new, which makes it difficult to analyze the impact the law has had on the United States healthcare system.

However, some of the most readily apparent changes include the drop in the uninsured rate and the shift in the payer mix, Burton VanderLaan, MD, FACP, medical director for network effectiveness at Priority Health, said during his keynote speech at the Patient-Centered Oncology Care meeting in Baltimore, Maryland.

“Obviously there’s a shift in the payer mix,” he said. “There’s a big expansion of Medicaid as a payer that, of course, is an issue because we all know Medicaid is a payment reimbursement level that is significantly below the traditional commercial insurance and below Medicare.”

Dr VanderLaan also discussed affordable care organizations, which “represent a new paradigm of accountability and reimbursement” and the Sunshine Act, with the first round of information released in 2014.

Despite the changes that have taken place, what he’s looking to see next is something to keep costs down in the face of increasing cost pressures. He said the cost of specialty drugs, the cost of marginally effective therapies, and the of narrow networks will be at the forefront of the drive to lower costs.

“I think those are the things we’re going to see in the news continuing in the next year or so,” Dr VanderLaan.

 
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