‘Uncertainty’ Key Word for Health-Care Attorneys in 2017


 

Health-care policy is the most pressing issue health-care attorneys will be asked to advise clients on in the coming year, according to an overwhelming majority of the editorial advisory board of Bloomberg BNA’s Health Law Reporter.

HLR learned through board members that, while policy concerns are foremost, they also expect health-care attorneys’ 2017 time to be spent helping clients with fraud, Medicaid, health-care industry consolidations, Medicare and antitrust issues.

Unclear and sometimes contradictory statements from the president-elect and Congress over the timing of the Affordable Care Act’s repeal, and what an eventual replacement may look like, leaves attorneys somewhat in the lurch over how to provide counsel in an industry highly dependent upon the ACA’s reforms, board members said. Attorneys should proceed with caution, they advised.

Dominating the industry are questions over whether hospitals, health-care systems and other providers will have to absorb more uncompensated care costs if Medicaid expansion and ACA insurer incentives, which have lessened the amount of uncompensated care they have had to provide, go away.

The incoming administration also hasn’t signaled how it will address fraud or antitrust enforcement, leaving large holes in attorneys’ ability to advise clients on how to proceed in these areas.

Be sure to read HLR’s 2017 Outlook at https://www.bna.com/healthcare-policy-fraud-n73014449681/ to hear what these health-care lawyers had to say about what to expect in 2017 about these issues, as well as in more general legal areas like provider regulation, health information and corporate governance.

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