David Bowie said it in his classic song Changes, “Oh, look out you rock n’ rollers, soon you’re gonna get a little older.” I am now 63, and Bowie could have sung those lyrics directly to me. As I get older, the issue of healthcare for my family and me has become more important.
Two exciting events occurred recently in the healthcare arena, one on the national scene and the other in the state of Virginia where I live. Both of these events will affect how my family and I receive our healthcare in the future.
I think the most important event was that the Supreme Court of The United States (SCOTUS) issued a monumental decision (on June 28) when it ruled that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional by a 5-4 vote. HIMSS staff and members have followed the Supreme Court case from the start because of potential impacts on our members and the health IT industry.
Now that the Court has handed down its decision (posted on the Court’s website), I want to share with you some highlights and HIMSS resources, including a Fact Sheet and an invitation to join us for a July 12th HIMSS webinar.
A Congressional Quarterly reporter, with whom HIMSS collaborates on government relations activities, has written a good summary of the announcement.
For more detailed analyses, www.SCOTUSblog.com is a terrific resource. Several posts on this blog break down the key portions of the ruling:
- The mandate is constitutional: In Plain English
- Don’t call it a mandate — it’s a tax
- Court holds that states have choice whether to join Medicaid expansion
Finally, Kaiser Health News put together a Consumer’s Guide to the healthcare law.
In Virginia, there was announcement that Virginia’s Inova Health system is teaming with Aetna to create an unusual healthcare plan in which both sides will share costs and profits. These two organizations announced this collaboration before the SCOTUS decision on the healthcare law. It is an example of how some in the healthcare industry are pursuing new collaborations and big changes to their business models.
My wife, Michaelann, an employee of United Airlines, is covered by Aetna insurance and since we live in the northern Virginia area, we will be able to use the Inova network, if the need arises. We like the idea of using the existing hospital system with a group of affiliated doctors as the network of providers. The best part of being in this program is that these clinicians and administrators will be using electronic health records that will track how well each doctor hits quality metrics. In addition, they can offer more personalized medicine because of using the EHRs.
We also believe that by enrolling in the system, our costs will be lower, and the quality of care for us as patients will improve. We are both firm believers that a fee-for-service model is no longer the way to pay for healthcare. We want to be part of something that pays doctors not for the quantity of, but the quality of, care they provide.
Therefore, with the SCOTUS decision on the Affordable Care Act and the recent news out of Virginia about the venture of Inova and Aetna, we are starting to feel a lot better about our healthcare as we speed to our golden years.
I would like to hear from you. How you think the SCOTUS decision will affect you or your loved ones?