Obamacare wins again.
The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Obamacare. They held in a 6-3 decision that the Affordable Care Act authorized federal tax credits for eligible Americans living not only in states with their own exchanges but also in the 34 states with federal exchanges.
Those that challenged the law argued that the federal government shouldn’t be able to provide subsidies to individuals living in states without their own healthcare exchanges. The purpose of the Affordable Care Act is to improve health insurance markets and the income-based subsidies are critical to its success because it helps make health insurance more affordable and accessible – ultimately reducing the number of uninsured Americans. If the Supreme Court would have ruled in their favor subsidies for more than 6.4 million Americans would have been cut off. Cutting off the subsidies for individuals in the 34 states that rely on exchanges run by the federal government would have been disastrous for the law and for the 6.4 millions of Americans that rely on them. According to estimates by the Rand Corp and the Urban Institute, without those subsidies the number of uninsured would have swelled by more than 8 million people.
The Affordable Care Act has created an increase in competition for healthcare insurance and services. Before the act, many patients were either uninsured or enrolled in a county program that only covered services at certain institutions. Patients didn’t have options and could not seek care elsewhere. With Obamacare, patients have more choices and can seek care elsewhere. This creates more pressure on healthcare organizations to provide excellent customer experiences and deliver high-quality and affordable care.
To keep pace with the competitive healthcare landscape, health plans and provider organizations must leverage the power of data to provide cutting-edge customer experiences. Enterprise information solutions are critical to turning data into meaningful information and actionable insights and Connected Health solutions engage and empower patients throughout their journey. Many organizations are operating on disparate data models with legacy applications that are extremely complex, making it difficult to use the information they have. Some organizations are struggling to leverage the power of their data, how their systems interact, or how data flows through their organization which makes it very difficult to prioritize and identify which actions provide the highest benefit with the lowest cost or risk. Health plans realize the health insurance industry has become increasingly competitive as everyone strives to meet the demands of the changing consumer base. Those health plans that cannot adapt quickly to the changing industry will risk losing market share, while those that can transform and build teams to lead and manage new initiatives will have a competitive advantage.
While healthcare organizations continue to navigate the transforming healthcare industry, it is critical that customer experience doesn’t take a backseat. Healthcare consumers are more demanding now than ever, they expect and demand an Amazon, Kayak, or Mint.com-type of experience. The healthcare industry will provide new features to consumers as they look to consolidate the consumer’s search for products and aggregate their health information. Competition will continue to intensify and health plans will have an increased focus on integration across the healthcare value chain with mergers and acquisitions, and as health plan-provider collaboration models continue to evolve. Health plans that can redefine and establish their value propositions and deliver cutting-edge consumer experiences will be able to dominate the market as the individual consumer shops not only for price, but for service
The ultimate goal with healthcare reform is to improve patient outcomes and the Affordable Care Act was created to improve the health insurance market. For now, it appears that the Affordable Care Act will be in place, at least until the 2016 Presidential election – stay tuned – I don’t think this is the last we will hear about #Obamacare.