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After SCOTUS Healthcare Ruling, No Middle Ground Will Remain

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, June 14, 2012

"I love what I do and I could easily practice until my 70s, but I am just fed up with all the government overregulation. They have every intention of slashing more revenue, and with the amount of money spent on liability insurance, at some point it just won't be worth practicing. I may be a consultant, and educate myself in healthcare policy."

Certainly there are other physicians who, like Scherz, are "fed up." Many who don't quit certainly may grumble to their colleagues and to themselves if the law is upheld, or even if parts of it are.

But it's not a time to create "silos" of physician opinion on this matter. As healthcare has shown in recent years, physician teamwork for improved patient care is especially crucial, but it may be even more difficult if the Supreme Court goes against the wishes of many doctors. Indeed, physicians' ability to cooperate may be tested further.

Doctors, like others healthcare professionals, need to look beyond the court action, because there are events and a movement of care that will not remain static, no matter what is written by the court. "A river is flowing toward more efficiency and accountability," says Lucy Savitz, director of research and education of Intermountain's Institute for Health Care Delivery and Research,  based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The group is working with hospitals and physicians to engage in a "culture of continuous improvement."

Stream agrees. Whatever the Supreme Court decision, the health reform law hardly touches many watershed issues such as improvements in medical malpractice laws. Or it completely ignores them, such as the SGR (Sustainable Growth Formula), "which continues to rear its ugly head," Stream says. These overarching issues must be evaluated and considered by physicians, as well as lawmakers, he adds.

"Regardless of the politics and view of the (Affordable Care) act, we recognize there are limitations of our healthcare system," he adds. "We pay too much for too little quality and safety, and we need to do better. There's no doubt about that. There are initiatives for improvement that predate the act, and they are going to move ahead regardless of the Supreme Court action."

For improved healthcare, there can be no languishing in middle ground, Stream says.


Joe Cantlupe is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media Online.
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5 comments on "After SCOTUS Healthcare Ruling, No Middle Ground Will Remain"


pplemmons (6/19/2012 at 2:17 PM)
I beg to differ with my friend Joe Tye. How can the mandate be construed as taking personal responsibility when individuals are being compelled by the government? This is a complete contradiction. The mandate is reason enough to reject the law, but it is also larded with features that take a giant step toward government control over private health decisions. I for one do not want to cede my constitutional freedoms to apparatchiks in Washington, D.C.

joe (6/18/2012 at 9:27 AM)
"Whether it's real or not, I think they feel they don't want more government control." What an interesting comment by a supposedly 'educated' physician...I wonder if the good doctor prefers having the insurance companies having MORE control over his practice? srsly the ignorance of some people is hard to understand

kakistocraphobe (6/15/2012 at 10:20 AM)
Tyco, perhaps some doctors actually care whether Congress is passing unconstitutional laws, regardless of their pocketbooks. That would actually be a very mature position.