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SCOTUS Uncertainty Deters Innovation

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, June 15, 2012

What's the price of regulatory uncertainty? Nobody knows for sure. But it's high. As leaders in the healthcare industry wait and wonder what the Supreme Court is going to decide about the Affordable Care Act, a casualty of the uncertainty is innovation.

Despite the acrimonious nature of attempts to fix the fact that healthcare costs too much, is unevenly distributed, and hurts too many people, disagreement on how to make repairs stems from the how, not the why. Let me explain.

Very few people, even those in the industry itself, will dispute that healthcare doesn't provide the value it should, and that people and organizations pay way too much for it. It needs to be fixed. But because healthcare is already so highly regulated and dependent on government reimbursement and regulatory decisions, the endless tug-of-war over the how prevents much of the work on the why.

It's tough to get traction when the fixes never get the chance to be fully implemented because the fight over policy is never really over. Especially this time, where despite the passage of a labyrinthine omnibus law—which I'm convinced nobody has read in its entirety—we still don't have a resolution, because the Supreme Court decided to weigh in on the constitutionality of key parts of the law.

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2 comments on "SCOTUS Uncertainty Deters Innovation"


M Cylkowski (6/19/2012 at 3:27 PM)
Phil, you might need a course in critical thinking. Your premises and conclusions support a fallacious argument. SCOTUS is not the cause. After years of Healthcare doing nothing, now it's SCOTUS causing a pause in innovation? I don't think so.

s bren (6/15/2012 at 2:28 PM)
Weak and ineffective argument Casting the "regulatory inhibition" net of stultifying regulations wiping out innovation is an inapprotiate expectation of SCOTUS. Regulation is subordinate to and the responsibilty of the President. SCOTUS is peer to Congress and the President and our last defense against tyranny. The President is solely accountable for the regulatory morrass, not SCOTUS, not Congress.