The US news world is covering this week’s supreme court hearings on the constitutionality of the healthcare reform law, also known as the Accountable Care Act (ACA). No doubt the ruling of the supreme court could have a really major impact on healthcare reform in this country. As best I can tell, all things seem to be pointing at the law remaining in place, but when you’re dealing with a few people deciding something this important things can change quickly.
I’ll admit to not being an expert on the details of ACA and healthcare reform. Plus, each side is spitting out so much rhetoric that it’s hard to really get a hold of the real details of what is going to happen with this new law and what the long term impacts from it will be. Seems like rational thought and reason is going out the door as emotions and partisan lines take over.
I did see this healthcare reform infographic from AHIP hitting my Twitter stream a few times. It analyzes an important nuance of ACA and healthcare reform. If you cut out the mandate for health insurance and leave in the other ACA market reforms, then as this graphic shows the insurance premiums go up and the uninsured increases as well.
This is basic rules of health insurance really. The ACA market reforms basically add a bunch of unhealthy patients to the insurance companies patient list. That’s why insurance companies were denying them coverage in the past. It seems the hope is that the health insurance mandate would also add a group of healthy patients as well since they could help offset the cost of the expensive patients.
This doesn’t have all that much to do with EMR, but it’s an incredibly important topic in healthcare that could fundamentally change the landscape. So, I thought it worth talking about.
One thing should be made clear. The ACA is different than the ARRA/HITECH legislation. I believe there is a little bit of healthcare IT money in the ACA, but when you talk about EHR incentive money you’re really talking about ARRA/HITECH. Only ACA is going to the supreme court. ARRA/HITECH could be effected by future legislation, but is a separate and distinct bill.