The U.S. Supreme Court on June 28 upheld key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama"s signature legislation designed to increase access to health care and rein in costs.
"This is the most dramatic legislation to influence health care in America￢ﾀﾨ since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s," said Vivian Ho, James A. Baker III Institute Chair in Health Economics. "The court"s decision today means well over 30 million people who are uninsured today will get access to affordable health insurance and therefore health care."
The justices upheld the ACA"s controversial individual mandate, which requires most Americans to get insurance or pay a penalty (which the court considers a tax), and partially upheld an expansion in Medicaid coverage.
Texas, which joined a lawsuit challenging care health reform as unconstitutional, is now under pressure to comply with the law, said Elena Marks, Baker Institute Scholar in Health Policy. "The state has not yet developed health insurance exchanges, which will be a government-administered marketplace where small businesses and families can buy insurance," she said.
Ho agreed. With more than 6 million people uninsured in Texas -- the most in the nation-- "we"ve now got a gargantuan task ahead of us," she said. If Texas is unable to meet ACA deadlines, the federal government will step in to assist -- not an ideal situation if the federal design isn't the right fit for Texas, she said.
While the ACA is "the best possible solution in light of an extreme problem we're facing," Ho said, she would like to see payment reforms that improve value by driving down health care costs and improving quality. To that end, the Baker Institute Health Policy Program on July 13 will host a conference on comparative effective research (CER), which examines how different treatments, tests, or procedures for specific conditions have worked for others, and at what cost. The aim of CER is to identify high quality treatments at a reasonable price.
Today"s ruling marks the start of an era in which the promise of affordable health care for all is within reach, Ho said. "This is a huge shift in both how the private and public markets are going to work. There are a lot of details to work out, but a decade from now, I expect to see more Americans with access to higher quality, affordable health care."
- Read the Bloomberg op-ed "Republican Governors Should Want Homemade Exchanges" by Baker Institute scholar in health policy Elena M. Marks (Aug. 19, 2012).
- Read the Kaiser Health News story "Businesses Will Push Perry to Rethink Medicaid Expansion," in which Baker Institute health economics chair Vivian Ho is quoted (July 18, 2012).
- Read the Baker Institute Blog "Texas should set up its own health insurance exchange," by Elena Marks, Baker Institute scholar in health policy (July 16).
- Listen to an interview on KUHF's Bauer Business Focus with Baker Institute health economics chair Vivian Ho discussing the Affordable Care Act and what it means for business and the economy (July 6, 2012).
- Read the Houston Chronicle op-ed "We must take advantage of Medicaid expansion" by Baker Institute health economics chair Vivian Ho and health policy scholar Elena M. Marks (June 30, 2012).
- Read The Lancet news story "U.S. Supreme Court paves way for health reform," which quotes Baker Institute health economics chair Vivian Ho (June 29, 2012).
- Listen to 88.7 KUHF news segment "Health care ruling lifts financial burden on Texas Medical Center," in which Baker Institute health economics chair Vivian Ho discusses the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act (June 29, 2012).
- Watch KPRC Click 2 Houston News story "SCOTUS health care ruling: How it affects people," in which health economics chair Vivian Ho comments on the impact that the Affordable Care Act will have on Houston and Texas (June 28, 2012).
- Read Houston Business Journal BizBlog post "Forget the ruling, Houston professionals happy to talk about health care issues," which quotes health policy scholar Elena Marks (June 28, 2012).
- Listen to 88.7 KUHF new story "Some Texans cheer Supreme Court ruling, but Republicans dismayed," in which health policy scholar Elena Marks encourages Texas politicians to think hard before turning down the option of expanding Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act (June 28, 2012).
- Read Burnt Orange Report story "Supreme Court upholds Affordable Care Act," which quotes health policy scholar Elena Marks (June 28, 2012).