(Note: somehow this was written and not published 10 weeks ago in early September…showing both that I’m fallible and that not that much has changed in 10 weeks, apart from a little minor politicking. Given that Friday is the lighest traffic day on TCHB, I figure I can get way with posting it now!)
HSC is out with its newest issue brief and this one is a summary discussion of several Wall Street analyst types about the health care industry. It’s a very intesting piece. Here are a few key nuggets (or the “shorter” version in blog terms):
- Health plans are pricing high to avoid a repeat of letting trend get away from them as happned in 1997-9. Employers apparently are back to being cranky, confused, aimless and spineless, but are pushing costs onto consumers. Trend is slowing which will eventually put downward pressure on premiums.
- Medicare regional PPOs are a non-starter, but there’ll be money made in Medicare HMOs on a county by county basis until Congress wises up and cuts back on HMO payments (i.e. we’ll revisit the 1992-1997 cycle)
- CDHPs are massively overhyped.
- Hospital spending isn’t going up as fast as predicted just a couple of years ago and the rapid pace of physicial plan expansion could lead to overcapcity and bad news for hospital pricing
There’s also a transcript of the whole discussion. I don’t agree with everything they say (and Wall Street analysts are often as wrong as Internet health pundits albeit at a much higher salary) but it’s well worth reading as a view on what several smart people who watch the numbers of the industry very closely see coming down the pike.