Industry preps for hard work ahead on healthcare comms

PRWeek asked industry leaders to comment on how the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act, which largely upheld the law, will affect both client- and agency-side communications leaders, as well as public affairs professionals. A roundup of their answers follows.

PRWeek asked industry leaders to comment on how the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act, which largely upheld the law, will affect both client- and agency-side communications leaders, as well as public affairs professionals. A roundup of their answers follows.

Susan Thiele, director of Hill+Knowlton Strategies' New York health practice - “While the full impact of the Supreme Court's ruling will be debated in the weeks and months to come, the decision to uphold the insurance mandate is generally seen as good news for drug manufacturers. When the provision takes effect in 2014, millions of previously uninsured patients will have better access to healthcare providers and medications. This market growth is largely expected to offset the costs the industry has agreed to pay as part of the plan, mostly in helping to close the “doughnut hole” in the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit.”

Brendan Daly, EVP and national director of corporate and public affairs at Ogilvy Washington – “[The ruling] does provide some certainty. There's a big concern about cost, so healthcare companies will want to continue to talk about what they can do to improve quality of care while driving down cost.”

Kym White, global chair of Edelman's health practice – “The ruling represents an enormous opportunity for marketers and PR practitioners to educate new audiences about disease prevention, treatment options, and their role in their personal healthcare as millions of Americans are newly enfranchised with access to ongoing care that was previously beyond their reach. The growth in new patient populations creates opportunity for dialogue with consumers who will be motivated to learn and access care that will soon be available to them."

Farah Bulsara Speer, executive director of healthcare, GolinHarris - “While we are still evaluating today's Affordable Care Act ruling, we believe it is going to reshape the healthcare marketplace in years to come. With growing uncertainty and repositioning, as well as an election year which will continue to spotlight the controversy surrounding the Affordable Care Act,  it is even more critical for experienced communicators to help organizations identify and prioritize what they share with their constituents. Many of our clients have been awaiting this decision, and we expect a new sense of urgency for key communications initiatives given that most of the provisions kick in by 2014.”

William Murray, EVP of public affairs, MWW Group – “As with anything else, the complications and details of this decision are giving both sides enough fodder to position to their advantage – this is true for those involved in politics, as well as the interests of healthcare.”

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