Remember those great Heinz Ketchup commercials from the late 1970s? You know, the ones where the kids are waiting for the ketchup to ooze out of the bottle onto their juicy burgers (by the way, I fancy myself a pretty good cook, but my burgers are never that perfectly round), Carly Simon's "Anticipation" playing in the background?
Don't we all feel just a little bit like that these days, waiting for the Supremes to add some sizzle to our summer with their ruling on the Affordable Care Act? I know that the anticipation is killing us at H&HN's World News Headquarters (if for no other reason than the waiting is wreaking havoc with deadlines), and we just report on this stuff. I can only imagine what it is like for those of you living it day in and day out.
But, of course, that's sort of the point — the vast majority of our readers live health reform day in and day out. By reform, of course, I mean reform. Sure, the court's ruling will have sweeping ramifications not just on the health care industry, but the entire nation. As we know from so many of you though, reform is well underway and is unlikely to be halted. Changes in reimbursement are moving us to a value-driven system, private alliances around accountable care are cropping up every day, medical homes are becoming mainstays for many health systems, population health is now a regular part of the health care lexicon, and so on. Even major insurers like Aetna, Humana and UnitedHealth have said that they will continue to implement portions of the ACA, regardless of what the court rules.
And let us not forget the rest of the economy. Business leaders and others keep saying that the current model is unsustainable. As I suggested in a recent column, big business is driving a lot of the change. Oh, and one last thing, recall what Deloitte's Paul Keckley told me last month: There's that nasty little thing called the budget deficit. How lawmakers tackle that hornet's nest following the election will likely have us all ducking for cover.
So, we will wait patiently for the court to hand down its verdict sometime next week and there will be plenty of analysis in the days and weeks following, but we also know that there are other forces at play that will have an equally — if not bigger — impact.
But while you're waiting, why not play with this fun prediction tool from Leavitt Partners, which lets you map out various scenarios involving the ruling and the November election.
Oh, and pass the ketchup!