Health-Care Industry <3s Reform?

| Fri Jan. 14, 2011 1:40 PM EST

The health insurance industry turned against the Affordable Care Act before the law passed, arguing that the onerous new regulations and reforms would make their business unsustainable. But despite its vocal objections, industry insiders now appear to believe that reform will help health insurers and other big stakeholders. Politico reports that industry investors are becoming more confident that President Barack Obama's health care initiative won't massively disrupt the health industry and is likely to bring insurers new business.

"There was initially a concern among investors that health reform would kill their business model. Now, that hasn't happened," one health care investor told the paper. The story continues: "[I]nvestors say they’re increasingly optimistic on health insurers’ future for two crucial reasons: regulations released this year have been relatively industry-friendly, increasing stability, and the health reform’s new business opportunities are beginning to look more tangible."

What's more, health-care investors and insurance executives at a recent conference barely addressed the House GOPers' health-care repeal bill, dismissing it as merely a symbolic gesture. Their working premise seemed to be that the major elements of health reform—including the individual mandate and insurance exchanges—are going to be coming on line as planned.

Such realities could undercut Republican claims that federal health reform will massively disrupt the insurance and health-care marketplace, with industry-choking regulations that bankrupt insurers. The health-care industry itself has remained largely mum in the latest round of this debate. But this might be an argument the Democrats can use—industry is not asking for repeal—when Congress resumes the repeal debate on Tuesday.

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