If 2011 is anything like 2010, it will be another mean year for the business of healthcare.
The healthcare reform debate in Congress undoubtedly will reach new heights of vituperation this year as Republicans regain control of the U.S. House with what they claim is a mandate to repeal "Obamacare." Democrats are already firing back at the GOP, calling them liars and hypocrites for misrepresenting the effects of the reforms while failing come up with fiscally viable alternatives. Both sides will sow fear, confusion, and angst. The "death panel" rhetoric—perhaps the single most unfortunate rumor to arise from the healthcare reform debates in 2009 and 2010—apparently has been rekindled.
Lobbyists for doctors, hospitals, drug makers and the health insurance industry will cruise the halls of Congress to ensure that any changes made to the healthcare reforms will come at someone else's expense—more than likely, the consumer.
And we'll hear more in the coming months about how hospitals and the healthcare system continue to kill tens of thousands of Americans each year through HAIs and medication errors, other preventable mistakes—and frankly, incompetence.
On the healthcare business front, Community Health System's very public hostile takeover attempt of rival Tenet Healthcare Corp. provides us with a fascinating glimpse of C-Suite fisticuffs.