Who has more influence, the legislators who pass the laws or the bureaucrats who write the regulations? The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” is a great example of a law that brings with it an appendix of specifications and provisions fit to fill a library of its own. The law itself is “only” about 2,400 pages long, the regulations, which are still being written, have recently exceeded 20,000 pages. But why? Why does the law require such an enormous amount of additional regulations? The answer is quite simple. “Obamacare” is designed to change the health care system in the United States in a fundamental way. For good or bad, the law aims at enacting mandatory operating requirements and tries to establish coverage requirements unprecedented in the history of the U.S. healthcare system.
As the mixed response to the proposed changes shows, the law is controversial and the nature of regulatory changes both numerous and varied. Some of the most controversial include:
- Health insurance plans must cover a federally established minimum number of medical conditions.
- Limited ability of health care providers to exclude applicants with pre-existing conditions.
- Federal reimbursement rates for Medicare/Medicaid will be changed.
- Section 6001 of the law bans new physician-owned hospitals from accepting Medicare payments.
- All employers meeting a certain threshold would be required to offer health insurance to their workers.
- Starting this year, drug manufacturers will be required to pay a 2.3% tax on certain medical devices.
Clearly, the proposed changes will transform virtually every aspect of the health care industry, and no company that operates in this sector will be immune to the transformations. Potentially, the legislation might even change the balance of power in the industry, but surely it will force providers, manufacturers, and employers to rethink the way healthcare is conducted in this country. One thing is certain, companies whose primary concern is health care, attempting to navigate a legal and bureaucratic minefield such as this can conceivably (and very quickly) turn into a nightmare. So what can an individual company do to prepare? Is there a way to protect your company from the whirlwind of change?
One may start by covering the bases. As “Obamacare” brings massive changes to the health care system, healthcare providers must update and rewrite existing documents. Start by getting your company’s paperwork in order as quickly as possible to get a head start from the competition; and as the regulations to the Affordable Care Act might just include a reimbursement for language services, the process will possibly less costly than suspected.
As an expert provider of medical translations for more than twenty years, EVS Translations can help companies that operate in the health care industry to update their documentation and navigate smoothly through the industry’s changing legal and bureaucratic framework. Contact us for a free quote.