Public perception issues and potential ramifications of the Supreme Court decision

June 14, 2012

Healthcare(Editor’s Note: This is part one of a four-part installment on “How the New Health Care Plan Has Been Misunderstood, Misrepresented, and Mismanaged”.)

Americans place significant value on the diversity of options in the health care system.

This includes variety among providers as well as among insurers and other payment options.

The New Health Care Plan has been painted by critics as reducing patients’ choices.

However, by ensuring that all Americans have insurance coverage, it can be argued that the Plan will expand choice by giving those that are currently uninsured, a choice of providers and insurers.

Unfortunately, the new Health Care Plan has been largely misunderstood by the public.

This is due, in part, to a lack of adequate outreach and communications by federal agencies, and misrepresentations by the media.

Legal challenges to the Health Plan – leading up to the presently-pending Supreme Court ruling – have discouraged commitment to Plan implementation by federal agencies.

As a result, the Plan has experienced a general “failure to thrive” over the past two years, since the initial Act became law. 

If the Supreme Court rules that the full Plan is constitutional, efforts will immediately need to be mounted to reassess the present status after two years of flawed implementation, recover from past mistakes an relaunch the Plan.

Helping the public gain a better understanding of the Plan and the Types of choice that are “built in” will be of major importance.

If the full Plan is ruled unconstitutional, efforts will be required to terminate the Plan and redirect the Health Care System.

Termination actions will be complex and unprecedented, affecting all organizations. Redirection will mean starting where the System is now, two years after the passage of the Plan, and dealing with all of the unresolved issues that still continue.

And if parts of the Plan – such as the individual mandate – are ruled unconstitutional, but the rest is found constitutional, efforts must be made to redesign and then relaunch the Plan.

Steps must immediately be taken to redesign the Plan with new strategies to replace the mandate (or to “give up” on the plan as unworkable).

A relaunch will be required to both correct past flaws and replace the mandate.

In any case, turmoil and conflict are likely to result due to the changes required, with strong support in some quarters and strong resistance in others.

 

A detailed analysis of the new Health Plan may be found in a recent book (Legal Practice Implications of the New U.S. National Health Care Plan, 2011-2012 Edition, by Mitchell and Mitchell, published by Thomson Reuters/WESTLAW).  Supplementary discussions by the authors regarding implementation of the Plan are also available through subsequent blogs (at staging.blog.legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com) and a Thomson Reuters podcast (at www.legalcurrent.com).