Health Reform Wins at the Polls: but What Will It Look Like?

By on November 7, 2012

One of the winners last night was the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. Most observers thought it would have been hard for a President Romney to actually repeal the Act itself. It seemed more probable that Republicans would have just chipped away at the provisions they opposed. Now that will not happen, even though the GOP held onto the House.

Chief Justice Roberts, you will remember, pretty much left the final decision on the Health Care Act up to the voters in this election cycle. It is unlikely the Court will do anything major on this subject going forward. With an Obama re-election victory, any future appointments to the highest bench are unlikely to make it more oppositional to reform.

In addition, those demographic groups that put Obama over the topic, Hispanics, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, working women and the young will want to see that reform rolls out and roll on. Popular opinion in favor of the Act has been slowly increasing. It is hard to imagine anything would reverse the trend in the days ahead.

That said, reform in health care is unfinished business. Its advocates designed a system that would satisfy the Congressional Budget Office on its fiscal responsibility. That does not guarantee it will lower or even contain rising costs. As we head for a showdown on the so-called Fiscal Cliff in the days ahead, you will be hearing about Medicare entitlements and Medicaid.

The Country has apportioned about as much of its Gross Domestic Product to Health Care as it possibly can. Increased efficiency and one-time reductions such as those in Medicare Part C can only do so much. Look forward to some lively discussions about further reform and initiatives in the next few years. It is almost guaranteed to be an issue in the 2014 off-year elections. Sloganeering and empty threats about Repealing Obama-care or Government Take-overs of Medicine will never do next time around. The electorate is listening. Serious action on health care costs lies ahead.


Tom Godfrey

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