Discussions about the Affordable Care Act dominate the airwaves, as pundits and politicians weigh in on the continuing saga of the federal health insurance marketplace. But lost in all this chatter is the fact that Obamacare may have a profound — though rarely discussed — effect on New Jersey’s economy by increasing the amount of prescription medication that’s likely to be consumed.
The law is expected to expand the number of insured Americans by an estimated 32 million people and, consequently, play a key role in boosting pharmaceutical industry revenue by 33 percent by the end of the decade — to $476 billion by 2020, up from $359 billion last year, according to GlobalData, a market research firm.
In other words, more people with health insurance can be expected to purchase more medicines, which presumably should ring registers for the pharmaceutical industry for the foreseeable future. Yet drugmakers say they are uncertain about the extent to which they will benefit from the larger pool of insured patients, or when that benefit will be realized.
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