Doctors Differ In Diagnosing Supreme Court Ruling

Joe Cantlupe, July 5, 2012

Physicians opposed to healthcare reform may feel like they're caught in a "Back to The Future" scenario. All that hope and hype over lawsuits against healthcare reform for the past two years has gotten physicians squarely back to 2010, when it all started. With the U.S. Supreme Court generally reaffirming the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, docs are trying to decipher their own diagnosis for what's ahead.

Many physicians who deride healthcare reform call it "Obamacare," just as disapproving non-healthcare professionals do. Should they now call it "Supreme Court care," too? In its 195-page decision, the court mentioned the word "physicians" only twice and "doctors" not at all.

In case you somehow missed it, the court was sharply divided, voting 5-4 to uphold the key provisions of the PPACA, including the controversial individual mandate that requires people to either purchase health insurance or pay a penalty. Chief Justice John Roberts was the deciding vote. The court also left it up to the states to expand Medicaid coverage.

Indeed, as the court was divided, so, it appears, is the population of physicians, much as they were before. Some say the court did the right thing, and the PPACA will properly bring millions more uninsured people into healthcare. Others contend it was a bungled effort at overregulation. Both sides seem to be uncertain over what the Medicaid ruling may bring. "It was the right thing to do," says one doc. "It was the worst decision ever," says another.

Joe Cantlupe Joe Cantlupe is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media Online.Twitter

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