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9 ways Covid-19 may forever upend the U.S. health care industry

9 ways Covid-19 may forever upend the U.S. health care industry

Topic: 9 ways Covid-19 may forever upend the U.S. health care industry

In the U.S. alone, Covid-19 has claimed nearly 100,000 lives and 30 million jobs. Beyond grinding day-to-day life to a halt, the pandemic has prompted a reckoning throughout the country’s health care infrastructure, shattering decades-old assumptions about how Americans conceive of medicine, and the doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical manufacturers they pay to provide it.

Already, the coronavirus has led to sweeping changes in who can receive care and how they access it. Millions of Americans, newly out of work, are also newly uninsured. Millions more who still have insurance have been forced to delay necessary but noncritical treatments. At the same time, doctors across the country have been granted broad flexibility to treat patients remotely, using telemedicine, instantly reshaping services ranging from routine checkups to addiction treatment.

STAT surveyed a host of prominent health policy experts — top health advisers to both Republican and Democratic presidents, lawmakers, executives, physicians, and top lobbyists  — who forecast a new status quo that they say will upend what American health care looks like for decades.

Among their predictions: The pandemic could help bring about an end to the American tradition of tying health insurance to employment status. It could prompt a reckoning about why Black people and other historically marginalized populations have long suffered so disproportionately — not just from Covid-19, but from nearly every common health condition. And it could represent the beginning of the end for the very concept of nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Below, STAT lays out nine ways in which the coronavirus pandemic is likely to forever change health care, the policies that guide it.

The comments below have been edited for length and clarity.

1. How Covid-19 has accelerated telemedicine ‘by a decade’:

Health care providers in the U.S. have been inching toward making more services available via telehealth for years. But health care leaders across the ideological spectrum agree: Covid-19 has pushed the inevitable telemedicine revolution forward by a decade, if not more, according to health care leaders.

Chris Jennings, policy consultant and former health care adviser to the Obama and Clinton administrations: “There’s the assumption in primary care that you always had to have in-person contact, and that telemedicine would be unsatisfactory, or wouldn’t fill the void. That’s been exposed — actually, it’s safer, it’s quicker, and it’s easier. If I just have a quick question, I want to see someone and engage them and see their focus is on me. But do I have to be in that office? And for a physician, can I get more things done, be more efficient, and protect myself, as well as my patients? People are now seeing this model, which we thought would take years and years to develop. And it’s probably been accelerated by a decade.”

Topic Discussed: 9 ways Covid-19 may forever upend the U.S. health care industry

Read Original Article: https://www.statnews.com/2020/05/19/9-ways-covid-19-forever-upend-health-care/