Health Reform Update: Supreme Court Health Care Ruling
On June 28, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a five to four opinion that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. Chief Justice John Roberts cast the deciding vote to uphold the constitutionality of the law. Within that ruling were two distinctions by the Court:
- the individual mandate was upheld under Congress’ taxing authority; and
- the federal government can not require states to follow expanded Medicaid participation requirements as written in the law in order to maintain existing federal support of their Medicaid programs.
Of significant importance to patients and physicians in today’s Supreme Court decision is its effect on Virginia’s Medicaid program. Under the ruling, states will be able to choose whether or not to expand Medicaid eligibility and benefits without losing existing federal funding if they chose not to expand their programs.
The Medical Society of Virginia (MSV) has had concerns for years about Virginia’s Medicaid program. These include constrained eligibility criteria and inadequate funding. MSV will continue to advocate for Medicaid infrastructure improvements in Virginia on behalf of patients and physicians.
We are pleased that elements of the law that support longstanding MSV policy were upheld, including: elimination of lifetime coverage limits, coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and development of health insurance exchanges.
What comes next:
MSV and physicians have been highly engaged in state-level efforts toward health care reform. MSV members and staff will continue to work within Gov. Bob McDonnell’s Virginia Health Reform Initiative (VHRI) to recommend innovative health care solutions to meet the needs of Virginians. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, VHRI has laid the groundwork for a Virginia-based health benefits exchange and has been integral in supporting the establishment of Virginia's Health Information Exchange (HIE).
We would like to assure MSV members that we are here to assist physicians in the evolving world of health care. To that end, we have planned two sessions during this year’s annual meeting that will be facilitated by national payment reform expert Harold Miller. The full-day and half-day sessions will address payment reform and achieving higher value care in the context of an evolving health care system and provide an opportunity for physicians to engage in designing ideas for new models.
There is much physicians can do to influence the future of health care in Virginia and MSV will continue to provide you updates as and analysis on today’s decision as they become available.
MSV members are invited to comment on the ruling by logging in and commenting below.
Articles about the decision:
Q and As before the decision: