Healthcare reform is a reality. Passed by the House with a 219-212 vote, the bill now goes to President Obama for signing within the next few days. And to complete the package, a bill of negotiated changes to the newly passed reform legislation will go to the Senate for a vote.
The reform package will extend insurance coverage to some 32 million more Americans, adding millions more paying customers into the healthcare system. That's expected to be a big bonus for drugmakers: Goodbye to postponed refills and never-filled prescriptions. Hello to better treatment--and higher drug sales--for the newly insured.
But while drugmakers have good reason to rejoice, there's still some opposition to the bill. So we can look for an extended public relations effort from the White House, which will highlight new coverage and other changes as they go into effect. And you can bet that all eyes will be watching how this bill is implemented; there won't be much tolerance for mistakes. In other words, the healthcare-reform saga isn't over yet.