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Obamacare and Healthcare Technology Startups

Affordable Care Act

As I wrote in “Political Debates: Little Substance About Healthcare“, I had hoped to hear a lot of substance about healthcare reform during the political debates this year. So far, there has little substance. I doubt if any of the candidates in either party know what is in the ten parts of Obamacare, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010. Ezekiel J. Emanuel does. In an article in Fortune, “How Obamacare Is Changing the Startup World“, the oncologist and Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Perelman School of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania, had a lot to say.

As to whether the ACA has worked over the last 6 years, he says, “the answer is clearly yes.” As evidence he cites two facts. First, nearly 19 million people now have health insurance who had none before. Secondly, “Health care inflation has been lower than at any time in the last 50 years.” That really is good and essential news. Mr. Dr. Emanuel also acknowledged the cost of drugs is rising rapidly. There are many other problems in the ACA he did not mention, but there are also some good things he did mention.

The majority of the Fortune article is about startups. In the year after the ACA went into effect, about $1.1 billion was invested in “technology-centric, health-related companies that facilitate healthcare administration, delivery, or access.” The article reported inn 2014 and 2015, that figured “skyrocketed to over $4.3 billion”. That is good news. As a mentor at Blueprint Health, I have seen a number of startups. They are energetic and visionary. Most focus on helping providers reduce cost or improve patient safety and quality. Many are focused on mHealth. You can read much more about the role of innovation in healthcare in Health Attitude.

Since it is political season, I continue to suggest politicians read What the Next President Should Do: Healthcare Common Sense. It reduces the multitude of healthcare problems to five and offers 11 common sense solutions. If you have political friends, I encourage you to share the article with them. A PDF version is here.

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