In late March, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Although their ruling is not expected until June, there is much speculation about what happens if the law and in particular, the Individual Coverage Mandate, are found to be unconstitutional.
Regardless of the outcome, the central issues of creating more value in health care and increasing affordability remain. Full implementation of the law will give consumers more access. However, changes that result from the current regulatory apparatus may also raise costs for both consumers and employers, who today provide coverage for 133 million people. The system, which accounts for more than 17 percent of GDP, is not financially sustainable.
Fixing health care is not just an economic imperative. As a nation, we have a moral obligation to create a health care system that works for all Americans. The issues are complicated and interrelated. So too are the solutions. Only by working collaboratively with all stakeholders can we unravel the complexities of our current system, align our efforts and find the right path forward.
Many in the private sector are already working together. Health insurers, hospital systems and employers are experimenting with new ways to address issues of quality and affordability including:
New health care delivery and payment models such as Accountable Care Organizations;
Innovation in health information technology to better connect the system and support clinical decision-making; and
Greater investment in prevention, and incentive-based wellness programs for employees.
The country needs a regulatory environment that protects the rights of its citizens and is conducive to private-sector innovation. We can’t let the politics of reform stall our collective efforts to reinvent American health care. We’ve come too far to turn back now.