Regardless of Supreme Court Decision, the Problem of Cost Isn’t Going Away

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Regardless of Supreme Court Decision, the Problem of Cost Isn’t Going Away

Statement by John Rother, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Health Care, on the forthcoming Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act

“Efforts to curb health costs must take their place at the top of the national agenda, no matter how the Supreme Court rules next week.

The Supreme Court could make our health cost problems worse if its ruling slows cost control efforts already underway or swells the rank of uninsured Americans. Even if it doesn’t, the underlying challenges will remain.

Private sector per capita health costs are climbing at nearly three times the overall rate of inflation, cutting into businesses’ bottom lines and eating into families’ incomes. Although costs in Medicare and Medicaid are growing at a somewhat slower rate, the Congressional Budget Office still identifies that growth as the greatest single threat to our nation’s fiscal future. The expiration of tax provisions, a $128 billion Medicare sequester, a scheduled 30 percent payment reduction for providers and the federal debt limit ensure that Congress will take some action in coming months. The question is what.

This moment demands new action to confront the rising tide of health costs, not the shifting of federal costs onto beneficiaries, states or the private sector. It’s time providers put aside today’s broken fee-for-service payment system and transitioned to new, coordinated models of care. It’s time consumers take more responsibility for improving their health, seek out information on the cost and quality of treatments and providers, and be ready to pay a little more if they don’t. Finally, it’s time our elected leaders found the courage to work together on achievable, common-ground policies that enhance competition in health care markets, curb waste in public programs, and adjust a range of agricultural, education, taxation and medical liability policies that contribute to high health costs.

The legal battle may be near its end, but our work to build a health system we all can afford is just beginning.”


 The National Coalition on Health Care, the oldest and most diverse group working to achieve comprehensive health system reform, is a 501(c)(3) organization representing more than 80 participating organizations, including medical societies, businesses, unions, health care providers, faith-based associations, pension and health funds, insurers and groups representing consumers, patients women , minorities and persons with disabilities. Member organizations collectively represent – as employees, members, or congregants – over 100 million Americans.Some members of the National Coalition Health Care (NCHC) do not, or cannot, take positions either on specific legislation, strategies or on any policies outside their respective mission areas. However, all that can, do endorse broad policy positions in support of comprehensive health system change.


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