Health Care Will Continue to be a Pain in the Head

  • December 19th, 2011

For the 31st consecutive year, The University of Alabama’s Office of Media Relations offers predictions from faculty experts for the coming year.

If you think the health-care reform debate has been intense and confusing so far, take two aspirins and try to follow it through 2012.

“I think that in 2012, Americans will begin to seriously debate the entire health-care question,” says Dr. William Rabel, professor of finance and head of the insurance program at the Culverhouse College of Commerce.  “Not just how it is financed, but how it is created and delivered as well.”

Currently health care accounts for 18 percent of Gross Domestic Product (one dollar in six), and that share is expected to rise to 25 percent (one dollar in four) within 12 years if the current health-care system remains unchanged.

“Whether Obamacare is upheld by the Supreme Court or not, it is only a transitional phase as we grope our way to a health-care system that will have substantial differences from the one we know today,” Rabel says.

“The system will utilize market forces more effectively by providing data on outcomes so that consumers can be better shoppers,” he says. “It will also utilize data to bring efficiencies into the health-care delivery system.

“Among the benefits will be enhancing quality, overcoming the perennial shortage of physicians and other professional practitioners, and locating abuse and fraud among users and providers.”

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.