Regardless of Court Ruling, Reform Under Way

Cheryl Clark and Margaret Dick Tocknell, March 30, 2012

Will health leaders revamp their organizations if the constitutionality of the individual mandate portion, or even if the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, are rejected by the Supreme Court?

Will they, perhaps, cancel expansion plans needed to take care of 30 million newly insured, or withdraw resources from improving patient experience scores? Might they scale back efforts to improve discharge planning to reduce readmissions, since the sections requiring penalties will be invalidated?

No. Not at all, several said, after hearing portions of the arguments this week. Whatever the Supreme Court decides will have little effect on current reform trajectories already underway.

Reform "Part of Our DNA"
"Even if the entire law disappears, healthcare reform will continue because it's become part of our DNA," says Michael Dowling, president and CEO of North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System. "Everyone is talking about it now."

Dowling adds that his organization has been working toward bundled payments, greater transparency, and preventive medicine, and away from fee-for-service "for years before the law."

"Innovators will continue to move forward, no matter what happens with the Supreme Court," he says.

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