ACA INSTABILITY

Laboratory Industry Faces Uncertain Regulatory Policy

While PAMA captured headlines at G2’s 35th annual Lab Institute conference (Washington D.C.; Oct. 25-27), speakers presented how other regulatory efforts, including the Affordable Care Act (ACA), might affect the laboratory industry.

James C. Capretta, resident fellow and Milton Friedman chair at the nonpartisan American Enterprise Institute, walked attendees through this year’s failed “repeal and replace” efforts. He said that current ACA outlook is plagued by “instability.” Looking forward, Capretta urged attendees to keep an eye towards December and the “must-pass appropriations” bill, to which he predicts Democrats will try to attach measures aimed at stabilizing the ACA Marketplace.

More broadly, Capretta said that the U.S. health system is in turmoil due to the fact that it is a hybrid system that is neither entirely market-based nor fully regulated. The system is, he says, “overbuilt” and full of “waste.” But, he says there is potential for both political parties to begin to address ways to drive “costs out” and “deliver more for less.”

Capretta said further uncertainty remains regarding how the Trump administration will grapple with value-based payment efforts. There are some indications the administration will not proceed with mandatory bundling trials. Furthermore, the early days of the administration indicate a general push towards deregulation. How this will impact the laboratory industry remains to be seen.

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