I’m typing this particular blog the day prior to election day. When many of you read it the suspense will be gone and our country will have elected either our first female president or a Washington outsider. I don’t know about you but the end could not have come soon enough for me. It seemed to me that this election, more than any other I can remember, was divisive. No matter the winner, the first order of business needs to be spanning the gap and pulling both sides together.
The second order of business needs to be addressing one of our countries biggest concerns. A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that 63% of the public is concerned that the government is not doing enough to lower prescription drug prices. Another concern is related to what’s going on with employer sponsored health plans. Much has been made of premium increases in the exchange but there are far fewer people enrolled in the exchange than those covered by employer sponsored plans.
Employer sponsored health plans rose an average of just 2.4% in 2016 and are expected to rise another 4.1% in 2017. Anytime increases are kept below double digits it’s a win but there’s more to the story. During the same period of time drug costs rose an average of 10%. Employer sponsored plans are holding premium increases at a modest level by shifting more and more people to high deductible plans, last year more than 29% of people in an employer sponsored plan had a high deductible and that number is predicted to go higher this year.
The Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, has done a good job of decreasing health care costs and the table is set for costs to continue to decrease in the years ahead. Hospitals and other health care providers have been forced to reduce cost and deliver more affordable care. The pharmaceutical industry has not had the same pressure. The new president will need to work with both parties to develop a system that encourages drug manufacturers to deliver products at a price patients and insurance providers can afford.
“We’re stronger together” and “Make American great again” were the two major candidate’s slogans in this election let’s hope compromise and the greater good become a legacy as opposed to an empty campaign promise.