As our deputy director (and in-house “recovering litigator”) Julie Barnes jokes, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act could be called the “jobs bill for lawyers.” New insurance regulations? Fraud and abuse? Payment reform? Medicare? Medicaid? New contractual and business relationships for hospitals and other providers? You got it. If you're a health lawyer, business will come knocking at your door.
The American Health Lawyers Association hosted a program on reform this week, inviting lawyers from all over the country to learn and review the nuts and bolts of the new law. Julie's presentation kicked off the program Tuesday morning, reminding the sold-out crowd why comprehensive reform was so important. Failing to cover everyone is a national embarrassment, for one. Skyrocketing healthcare costs, two. No longer can we afford the status quo -- not the federal or state governments, not consumers, not employers, not insurers, not pharmaceutical companies and not the provider community. Julie's panel addressed commercial insurance, explaining that the goals of reform included making health insurance coverage affordable, creating minimum coverage standards and making insurance markets work better for all Americans. Panelists described how the new law seeks to achieve these lofty objectives.