2018 Outlook is Cloudy, Health-Law Experts Say

Attorneys who counsel health-care industry clients will need to be on their toes in 2018, Bloomberg Law advisory board members told us in response to our survey to determine the top 10 health law issues for this year.

Novel legal issues could arise quickly, depending on moves the Trump administration makes, they said. The uncertainty board members warned last year would prevail throughout 2017 could turn into chaos in 2018, they said.

The No. 1 issue on board members’ minds, like last year, was health-care policy. This wasn’t surprising, given the Republican obsession with killing the Affordable Care Act. Although Congress failed last summer to repeal the law, administrative action and the tax reform law’s repeal of the individual mandate penalty will effectively strip it of its effectiveness, board members said. They added that they don’t see any good proposals for a replacement arising in 2018.

The rest of the list was, in most respects, as what might have been expected, with fraud and abuse at No. 2 and both Medicare and Medicaid in prominent positions. Board members warned, however, that these and the other top 10 issues—health information technology, health-care industry consolidation, governance, antitrust, and taxation—are interwoven to an extent not seen previously.

Governance issues will be a central concern, they said, warning that technology is now a governing board issue. Directors and corporate officers must be as conversant with technological concerns as they have been with regulatory compliance issues in the past. Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement issues, additionally, are driving much of the consolidation among providers, they said.

Get a sense of where the health industry is headed in 2018 by reading the full article, as well as Bloomberg Law’s legislative and regulatory health-care outlooks here.

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