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Healthcare Reform Unstoppable, Regardless of Court's PPACA Decision

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, June 28, 2012

"Regardless of what the court decides, healthcare in this country is already changing and must keep evolving, because it's broken," Chris Van Gorder, president/CEO of San Diego-based Scripps Health said in a media statement this week. "This crisis presents a challenge and an incredible opportunity for physicians and hospitals to fundamentally reshape the future of healthcare."

Depending upon the forecaster, healthcare spending growth is projected to increase between 4% and 6% or higher in the next year and beyond, which well above the 2.3% rate of inflation as measured by GDP. Those rising healthcare costs will be reflected in the higher insurance premiums, deductibles, and co-pays for millions of Americans, along with the burden employers face carrying increasingly expensive coverage. That's money taken out of the economy for discretionary spending.

It is no coincidence that wages are stagnant but healthcare costs are not. Today's decision by nine justices won't affect that at all. It seems the biggest effect the PPACA legal battle has had is not with how the high court will rule, but with the months of uncertainty that has left many healthcare providers to wait for the dust to clear.

Patricia Webb, senior vice president and CHRO at Catholic Health Initiatives, told HealthLeaders Media back in April that the Denver-based health system could not afford to wait on the high court's ruling. "At the rate healthcare costs are growing we had to modify how we take care of patients and focus more on population health and preventive care that is going to happen and that is what needs to happen from our perspective," Webb said.

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