Supreme Court Decision Doesnt Fix Underlying Problems with System
The Supreme Court has spoken. As the country reacts, favorably and unfavorably, to the Court’s decision on health reform a few indelible truths remain:
1. The massive healthcare system in our country remains broken. It continues to reward volume over value. It continues to be burdened by inefficiency, lack of transparency, and the absence of competitive forces. We are still in need of transformational change. And whatever the ultimate impact of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) on the system – which may not be known for decades - we can all be 100% sure that it, alone, will not result in the needed transformation.
2. The government will not lower costs. The worthy goals of the ACA notwithstanding, no government-sponsored initiative is going to change the drain that healthcare costs exert on our economy. And while there are aspects of the program that are designed to improve efficiencies and lower costs, it would be unrealistic to believe that a government program of this complexity will lower costs. If anything, costs are likely to continue to escalate as the healthcare system is filtered through the government infrastructure.
3. Our country remains divided. Rasmussen polling data has consistently shown that a majority of Americans favor a repeal of the law. We are in a presidential election year, and Republican nominee Romney is already calling for a repeal. The debate on the law’s future is just beginning. None among us can afford to believe that the matter is settled. The situation remains volatile and uncertain.
4. We are all (still) in need of value in healthcare. Better quality. More Transparency. Lower Costs. Regardless of the future of the healthcare law, these principles will ultimately have to prevail if our country is to fix what is broken. This will only be achieved if healthcare purchasers, individuals and health plans alike, have the ability to meaningfully compare and choose among qualified providers so that they may select the provider that delivers the best value to them. Simply shifting costs from private to public entities solves nothing in the long term.
With or without a government-sponsored solution, healthcare in this country will truly be on the road to reform only when purchasers assert control and demand transparency, value and results from the provider marketplace. If purchasers simply ask, they will find a world of opportunity with qualified providers ready and able to deliver a better value.
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