Worries about the U.S. Health Care System – As the Supreme Court Debates a Ruling on the New Health Plan

April 12, 2012

HealthcareBased on the three days of oral arguments before the Supreme Court, the ruling to be made regarding the new national Health Care Plan (the Affordable Care Act) appears to be impossible to predict—options range from finding the law fully constitutional to fully unconstitutional, and include a range of in-between rulings that could discard parts of the Plan and keep the rest.

All of the present discussion about the ruling seems to be handicapping the likely outcome, to be released by the Court in June.

Little or no attention is being paid to what will likely happen after the ruling, and to the potential outcomes—all of which are disturbing. 

The overriding issue is how any ruling will affect the organizations in the Health Care System, which have been evolving under the new Health Plan for the past two years, toward a very different Health Care System (as discussed in Legal Practice Implications of the New U.S. National Health Care Plan, 2011-2012 Edition, by Mitchell and Mitchell, published by Thomson Reuters Westlaw).

Because of the pending Supreme Court ruling, implementation progress over this past year has been slowed, as managers have dealt with uncertainties over how the Court might change the situation.

If the Plan is found constitutional, implementation is behind schedule, with many essential tasks far from complete; efforts to proceed must face the need to seriously upgrade implementation efforts and probably seek further delays in deadlines, while still dealing with ongoing attacks from critics of the Plan, extending organizational risk and exposure.

If the Plan is ruled unconstitutional, major tasks face health care organizations in unwinding their efforts in midstream and deciding how to proceed in the future.

If part of the Plan is upheld and part rejected, federal agencies must come up with a revised Plan, which will take time, while other organizations must decide what to do in the interim and how to respond to revisions as they are announced.

If the Plan is fully upheld, gearing up by all organizations to completely implement the Plan and operate under a new Health System design will be extremely difficult in the present environment.

If part or all of the Plan is ruled unconstitutional, there is a potential for significant negative impact on operations of the Health Care System, which could result in reductions in organizational effectiveness, risks to the quality of health care services, and a rapid boost in the costs of care (as organizations attempt to recoup their lost investments), accompanied by widespread resentment by previous advocates of the Plan.

Too little attention is being paid to the reality of the potential organizational impact that is likely to be experienced as a result of any ruling by the Supreme Court.

Legal Practice Implications of the New U.S. National Health Care Plan, 2011-2012 ed. NEW

Authored by Fred H. Mitchell and Cheryl C. Mitchell, this book provides a unique foundation for health care professionals to use in developing an understanding of the new national health plan, and for extending and revising practice activities that involve organizations in the healthcare system.

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This book is available for sale on the Thomson Reuters Westlaw Store for $139 USD.  Free Ground Shipping on all U.S. orders.