Health care analysts believe the industry, with its heavy presence in Nashville, will continue to see slight gains this year. But they see a potential burst of growth when parts of the recent health care overhaul go into effect.
Hospitals and out-patient facilities may treat about the same number of people or slightly more according to a panel of analysts speaking to the Nashville Health Care Council. Forecasts further into the future get even more vague, but Adam Feinstein of Barclays Capital says many people will be getting insurance who’ve been putting off going to the doctor.
“Whenever you give people a new benefit, they will over-utilize that benefit. So I think when health reform kicks in, you’ll see a big spike in utilization, and then when they tweak the benefit around, and put more incentives for people not to utilize, then it could slow down.”
Largely, this panel does not expect the health care bill to be repealed or even substantively changed. One says, “the train has left the station.”
Frank Morgan of RBC Capital Markets says people are warming up to the idea.
“I think as we get further away from the election and further down the road, you can already start to see it in the polls. The people who are against health care are going down. The numbers accepting are going up.”
Morgan says he expects the health care overhaul to remain largely intact, though he equates some of its provisions to building a house without a blueprint. Analysts say there are still many unknowns.