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Health Plan Forecast: Fewer Headlines, More Wonkery in 2014

   December 18, 2013

After a year of headline-grabbing changes—most notably the troubled launch of the federal health insurance exchange—look for a focus on the mechanics of change in 2014.

Mark Lutes, Member of the Firm,
Epstein Becker Green

If you set aside the complete misfire of the federal health insurance exchange, then 2013 has been something of a watershed year for healthcare reform. Price transparency made a quantum leap with the release of chargemaster data, the rate of growth for healthcare spending began to slow, and Congress inched toward a doc fix.

What will happen in 2014?

I recently spoke with Mark Lutes about the healthcare issues he thinks will be important in 2014. Lutes is an attorney and principal in the healthcare and life sciences practice at Epstein Becker Green, a law firm whose specialties include healthcare, labor and employee benefits. Lutes, who is something of a Washington, DC insider, gave me his take on some of the fundamental healthcare matters—not necessarily the headline grabbers—that he will be paying attention to next year.

HLM: What are some of the healthcare issues you have on your radar for 2014?
Lutes: Attempts to make the coverage expansion work are the part of healthcare reform that get all the media attention. That is only part of the story; the value-based purchasing leg of healthcare reform is of equal significance.

Can we deliver the care or arrange for the care in a cost-effective, high-quality manner? We're giving short shrift to the discussion of the value-based purchasing part. The provider community and the services sector need to have frank conversations around the topics of the value-based purchasing.

Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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