HIT stakeholders weigh in on Supreme Court’s Affordable Care Act ruling

HIT stakeholders won’t know the long-term ramifications of the Supreme Court’s Affordable Care Act ruling for a while, but they try to make sense of it with instant reactions.

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The U.S. Supreme Court’s long-anticipated ruling on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) came down today, after months of speculation about what parts of the law would be struck down or upheld. The individual mandate stood, which perhaps was the most politically contested piece of the long and detailed act, which also funded health IT-intensive accountable care organizations (ACOs).

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While it’s difficult to know hours after the ruling how the ACA will reshape health care provider and payer LANs, WANs and cloud implementations, many HIT stakeholders took a stab at it. Under the law, many more people will be insured. That will make Big Data bigger and patient registries longer. It will put patient-data analytics systems currently under development for ACOs to the test, as more patients seek more preventive care and physicians more actively manage patients with chronic diseases under quality-driven payment programs.

At this writing, a spokesman for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) said reactions would come from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the defendant in the case. ONC had not yet issued a statement. Some of the other initial reactions from among HIT stakeholders include:

American Academy of Family Physicians President Glen Stream, M.D.

"Broad, individual responsibility for health care is the foundation for successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act's patient protections. Economic realities dictate that ensuring coverage for all Americans depends on participation of all Americans."

Federation of American Hospitals President and CEO Chip Kahn

"Hospitals are keenly positioned to witness first-hand the scope of our nation’s uninsurance crisis and how being uninsured creates intolerable burdens for so many patients and their families. Today’s decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act will enable millions of Americans to soon obtain health insurance coverage. This outcome also sustains the ability of hospitals to continually improve health care quality and transform the health care delivery system." 

Care Continuum Alliance (CCA) President and CEO Tracey Moorhead

"The transformation of health care delivery in the United States, with a focus on the health of populations began over a decade ago. Our industry continues to promote the value of wellness, prevention and health promotion; quality and outcomes over volume; and the importance of technology and innovation to expand capacity while providing value-driven care."

Dell Healthcare Chief Medical Officer Andrew Litt, M.D.

"The U.S. health care system is undergoing a major transformation in response to ongoing pressures and the availability of new technologies. These changes are being driven by consumer demand and the need to reduce cost and enhance quality. New business and reimbursement models based on value -- not volume -- will continue to develop, and information technology is essential for improved care coordination. Providers and payers understand that by harnessing the power of IT, we can connect silos of data, improve clinical efficiency, empower patients, and accelerate innovation. "

Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania President and CEO Carolyn Scanlan

"Increasing the numbers of individuals and families with health insurance has always been a priority for Pennsylvania’s hospitals. Higher rates of coverage improve access to primary and preventive care, and therefore contribute to better health; assure that more who are hospitalized or need other health care services are covered; and reduce the uncompensated care burden on hospitals. We have supported, and will continue to support, state and federal health care policies aimed at reducing the number of uninsured individuals. Apart from today’s decision, Pennsylvania’s hospitals remain committed to the reforms and evolution already underway in health care. "

America’s Health Insurance Plans’ (AHIP) President and CEO Karen Ignagni

"Health plans will continue to work with policymakers on both sides of the aisle to make coverage more affordable, give families and employers peace of mind, and promote choice and competition. Health plans also will continue to lead efforts to reform the payment and delivery system to promote prevention and wellness, help patients and physicians manage chronic disease, and reward quality care."

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