All eyes are on the U.S. Supreme Court as the august body is expected to announce its decision on the fate of Obamacare this month.
Whatever happens, one thing is clear. Even if all nine justices throw out Obamacare as it was envisioned, obamacare — the principles that form the backbone of healthcare reform and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — will live on. Stakeholders from across the healthcare spectrum seem united on that.
On Monday, the Associated Press reported that UnitedHealth Group, the insurance behemoth, said that it won’t pull back on some of the changes that have already been implemented if the high court deals a blow to the ACA.
Here’s more from the AP story:
Regardless of the court’s ruling, UnitedHealth will continue to offer dependent coverage to adult children up to age 26 who seek coverage through parental plans, and it won’t impose lifetime dollar limits on how much an insurance policy pays out to cover claims. That can help people fighting cancer or an expensive, chronic illness.
The insurer also pledged to not pursue rescissions of individual coverage except in limited instances like cases of fraud. Rescission involves cancelling a person’s coverage retroactively, sometimes after claims have been submitted.
UnitedHealth CEO Stephen J. Hemsley said in a statement that the insurer will extend some of the overhaul’s initial provisions because they are good for people’s health, they promote better access to quality care and they help control rising health care costs.
Preventive care like immunizations or high blood pressure screenings are touted as ways for patients to ward off bigger and costlier health care problems.
Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak has also gone on the record saying that regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision, he sees continued payer-provider integration in the future. Medtronic is planning to doexactly that with Aetna.
And Kaiser Health News reported that the federal “Shared Savings Program,” which offers financial incentives for physicians, hospitals and other healthcare providers to team up in ‘accountable care organizations’is reviewing 150 applications.”
Some ACO leaders say they aren’t worried about the Supreme Court case.
“It’s not changing anything for us,” said Emily Brower, an executive director with Atrius Health, operator of a pioneer ACO in Massachusetts. “This is a model of care we’ve been trying to evolve into since before the pioneer program existed.”
These different entities are echoing the same sentiment because they all recognize one thing: The rising cost of healthcare is simply unsustainable and the ACA addresses this issue in important ways.
So, even if the Supreme Court kills Obamacare as we know it, its spirit will thrive by the actions of some of those very entities that bitterly opposed it.
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