With the full implementation of the individual portion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act less than five months away, physicians and doctor's offices around the country should be bracing for what could be an influx of new patients. With the mandate for insurance comes the potential that more people (both those covered under Medicaid expansion and self-insured individuals) may choose to visit their doctor more often to address ongoing and preventative concerns.
From an investing standpoint and as a society, we understand what diseases are most prevalent, where the trends are rising, and what medications are being developed to treat these diseases. Obesity, for instance, is a disease that affects 35.7% of the U.S. population, and with it comes a considerably higher risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and cancer. Similarly, some 25 million people in the U.S. are diabetic, with another nearly 80 million in a pre-diabetes stage. You'd think with staggering figures like these that the majority of doctors office visits would be related in some way to chronic weight or diabetic issues.