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Economics Alone Drives Healthcare Reform

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, April 2, 2012

The public should be excused if, drawn into the endless news coverage of last week's U.S. Supreme Court arguments on the constitutionality of the individual mandate, they mistakenly think that healthcare reform centers around legal issues.

And the fierce debate on the presidential campaign trail over the merits and faults of the Affordable Care Act, and the often superficial media reporting on that debate, could also lead the public to mistakenly view healthcare reform as primarily a political issue that hinges upon who wins in November.

However, neither politics nor constitutional challenges are driving healthcare reform. In fact, delivering better healthcare, while certainly desirable , isn't even the main driver of healthcare reform.

What's driving healthcare reform? Follow the money. It's all about what we can and—increasingly what we can no longer—afford.

Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules, or who wins the White House this fall, or which party controls Congress in 2013, or whether it's "ObamaCare" or some improbable Medicare voucher scheme, or some form of muddled political inertia, the economic pressures forcing the issue now will still be there in the coming months and years. 

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