Outlook 2014: Capitol Commotion

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It's been a quiet year for healthcare and pharma marketers. The government was open for business and disposed to individuals across the political spectrum. Budget dollars flowed freely. There wasn't one galvanizing piece of legislation that threw institutions and programs into a state of flux. So for anyone in the pharma and healthcare marketing food chain, it was an uneventful year, with no looming anxiety superstorms. None at all. Nope. Nuh-uh.

The preceding paragraph comes to you on behalf of the Institute For Head-In-The-Sand Denial, and many people in healthcare subscribed to that thinking in 2013. But for almost everyone else, the situation prompted concern. Did government policy tweaks and persnickety politics generate migraines among pharma marketers in 2013? Maybe. Are many individuals in wait-and-see mode as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act struggles to generate momentum among potential enrollees? Absolutely. But policy wrangling has spurred caterwauling ever since the dawn of government.

Healthcare in America is evolving. Change is constant and, often, a drag—but that doesn't mean that disaster is nigh. And despite talk about gorked-out Obamacare websites and key states balking at Medicaid expansion, there are positive signs, from the expected influx of would-be-eligibles into the system to last month's move by the current administration to allow pharma companies to contribute to patients' out-of-pocket prescription costs.

Don't buy it? Listen, instead, to the  analysis of four executives who have long been unknotting the types of thorny problems the system faces: Les Funtleyder, managing director of investment firm Poliwogg and author of Healthcare Investing: Profiting from the New World of Pharma, Biotech, and Health Care Services; John Kamp, executive director, Coalition for Healthcare Communication; Wayne Pines, former FDA chief of consumer education and information, chief of press relations and associate commissioner for public affairs; and Peter Pitts, former FDA associate commissioner for external relations and president and co-founder of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest. Here, they weigh in on what to expect from the government in 2014.

Their message, massively condensed and oversimplified: It's not a time to throw any yay-for-Washington shindigs, but neither should anyone start bolstering underground bunkers or hoarding canned goods for a policy-prompted healthcare apocalypse. Read on.
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