Entrepreneurial

Hot healthcare investing trends for 2011

– Dr. David J. Brailer is the chairman for San Francisco-based venture firm Health Evolution Partners and served as the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology under President George W. Bush. The views expressed are his own. –

2011 will be a chaotic and unpredictable year for investors.

We will see the first big changes of health reform play through – regardless of what the incoming Congress does. No one can predict what health reform means, particularly alongside the dwindling of the financial crisis and the ongoing jobs bust. The only sure thing is that 2011 won’t be a replay of the last two years where safe deals got done and a lot of companies traded from investor to investor.

Here are a few trends – and a few pitfalls – to pay attention to:

1. Please, no more meaningful use. Health information technology has been hyped into the stratosphere, and every entrepreneur is trying to raise capital while they can. Many are spinning their wheels because they mistake the investment bubble for their own shrewdness. The market will figure out in 2011 that federal subsidies will happen far slower than planned or that they may be cut back by a deficit-hawk Congress. Once the bubble pops and people get their feet back on Earth, deals will start to happen again. There are some very good health information technology companies coming to market in 2011 and they are going to rock healthcare in the coming years.

2. Life science is still alive – barely. The venture pullback and a draconian FDA have thankfully euthanized many me-too bio-therapeutic and device companies. But a lot of promising new treatments got killed in the onslaught as well. Disease hasn’t stopped trying to eradicate the human race, so the unmet demand for new treatments is still growing. And, regardless of what else is happening, Americans won’t tolerate being sick when there are treatments that may help them. Look for a crop of new life-sciences companies – therapeutics and devices in particular – to get traction. They will be different from their predecessors – way more cash-efficient and more attentive to demonstrable clinical value (i.e., if it needs a statistician to prove that it works, it probably doesn’t). Look for the shakeout of biomarkers to continue. The ones that a clinician would really want to use will get funded and others will fall apart.

3. Accountable care wannabes. Investors are searching the globe now for physician groups and other health providers who will be recognized as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). Not to matter that the Government hasn’t told us what ACOs are yet, or that some real group of physicians could actually do it. And, let’s remember that many people had the great privilege of losing their fortunes the last time investors funded physician management companies in the 1990s. A sub-trend here is the search for the next generation primary care network. Everyone is on the lookout for the doctor-meets-retail iteration of basic medical services now that more Americans will have health insurance.

Health insurance advice for entrepreneurs

– Ryan Hanley is a Commercial Account Executive for Guilderland Agency Inc and author of the “Albany Insurance Professional” blog located at www.RyanHanley.com. This article originally appeared on Under30CEO. The views expressed are his own. –

For an entrepreneur, skimping on insurance – especially health insurance – is like playing Russian Roulette with your future.

At no time in your business’s growth will the health and wellness of employees be more important than the startup years. Think about the set-back in growth if the founder of a second year business became ill and had to miss a month. A terrifying scenario for most young businesses.

Small businesses cheer midterm results

– George A. Cloutier is the founder and CEO of American Management Services and the author of the bestselling book, “Profits Aren’t Everything, They’re the Only Thing”. The views expressed are his own. –

Last week’s midterm elections have provided an emotional boost for many small businesses, according to a survey conducted by American Management Services.

About 73 percent of small business owners said they felt more optimistic about the future of their company due to the Republican gains, in a survey of more than 300 small business owners in 25 states following the Congressional elections. The participating companies all employ at least 25 employees and are considered the job-drivers most likely to hire new workers.

Would you let a robot care for your mother?

Michelle Owusu is a contributor for Reuters.com

The idea of sticking their parents in a nursing home weighs heavily on many Baby Boomers. Martin Spencer has a solution: robots.

“Many people quit good paying jobs to keep their beloved mother or father out of the horrors of a nursing home,” said Spencer, who created the CareBot, a 4-foot, 100-pound, robot with a screen for a face and wheels for legs that reminds owners to take their medication.

If necessary, the CareBot calls emergency contacts and dials 911 and is fitted with a webcam to allow purchasers the ability to monitor and have video chats with their elderly relatives from anywhere.

What the healthcare bill means for small businesses

– Christa Rapoport is the chief compliance officer for independent benefits consulting and brokerage firm Corporate Synergies Group, Inc. The views expressed are her own. –

The House of Representatives last night passed the Senate’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590), as well as the Health Care & Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4872).

While the final details are being ironed out, now the big question is: what does that mean for small businesses?

A healthcare proposal too big to succeed

– A. G. “Terry” Newmyer is a serial entrepreneur and the former founding chairman of The Fair Care Foundation, a patient-advocacy group focused on health insurance. The views expressed are his own. –

In recent remarks to business leaders, President Obama declared himself an “ardent believer in the free market.” So, there is at least one person who is an ardent believer in that sentence.

Just this week, I had lunch with a very prominent, sane, and successful Wall Street executive who was CEO of a big-name firm. He left more than a decade ago, during an era when those folks did so with pride rather than with investigations and grand jury subpoenas.

Small Talk: Healthcare debate heats up

The healthcare debate is just starting to heat up for small business owners. FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters sister publication, has a nice blog post titled “Healthcare reform & small business: 3 bills explained,” in which they break down Obama’s “Affordable Health Care for American Act” legislation, that was approved by a slim majority of 220-215 by the House over the weekend.

In general the reaction by small business to the Obama legislation has been largely negative, with the most damning attacks coming from small business lobby groups, the National Federation of Independent Business and the National Small Business Association. In a Wall Street Journal story, titled “Small Business Crunches Numbers“, NFIB senior VP Susan Eckerly said the bill’s “punitive employer mandates and atrocious new taxes will force small business owners to eliminate jobs and freeze expansion plans at a time when our nation’s economy needs small business to thrive.”

Denver Business Journal reporter Kent Hoover examined the bill from a small business perspective in his article “How small business fares under health-reform bill“. In it Hoover said that while the majority of small businesses oppose the legislation, some support it because “they think the insurance market needs the bill’s reforms, such as barring insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions,” wrote Hoover, adding: “Plus, they think providing a government-run option in new health insurance exchanges would bring needed competition to the insurance market.”

Time to get a grip on health insurance? Survey says yes

US-HEALTHCAREAs lawmakers grapple with the intricacies of a national healthcare overhaul, many small-business owners are facing a healthcare struggle of their own: determining a suitable health insurance plan for their company.

A new survey reveals that many executives at small firms in the U.S. lack the confidence and know-how to pick a health insurance policy that will meet the needs of their employees and their company’s bottom line.

Of the 500 executives surveyed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), 64 percent said they don’t feel confident choosing a plan, and 60 percent said they’re unsure of how their taxes would be affected if they shell out to cover a portion of their employees’ health insurance.

from The Great Debate:

Women small business owners really need healthcare reform

-- Nancy Duff Campbell is a founder and co-president of the National Women's Law Center, one of the nation's pre-eminent women's rights organizations. A recognized expert on women's law and public policy issues, for over thirty-five years Ms. Campbell has participated in the development and implementation of key legislative initiatives and litigation protecting women's rights, with a particular emphasis on issues affecting low income women and their families. The views expressed are her own. --

Insurance companies and others who profit from our broken health care system are mobilizing to defeat comprehensive reform by using misinformation and scare tactics. A prime example is the allegation that healthcare legislation – specifically the plan being considered by the House of Representatives – will hurt small businesses.

The fact is that small business owners, especially women, are already hurting under our current healthcare system. Leah Daniels, 29, is the owner of Hill’s Kitchen – a gourmet kitchenware store that opened last May not far from the U.S. Capitol. Daniels can’t afford to offer health insurance to her three employees. She purchased her own bare-bones plan on the individual market for protection “in case I get hit by a car,” but not much else. It costs her just under $200 a month and doesn’t cover such services as routine doctor’s visits or maternity care. Daniels, who often works 7 days a week, says that she is constantly worried about getting sick.

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