No Matter What the Supreme Court Rules, Challenges Lie Ahead

Politicos, policy wonks, and citizens will all be eagerly waiting Monday for a possible Supreme Court’s ruling on the ACA. Speculation in particular is focus on whether the individual mandate provision will survive, and what that would require from lawmakers as a response. But lost in all of the coverage is the unsustainable growth in our nation’s health care costs.

Last week's Wonkblog featured a piece with Mark Bertolini, Chief Executive of Aetna, one of the nation’s largest health insurance providers. On the Supreme Court ruling, Bertolini believed that the decision would not change his company's strategy or the needs of our health care system, arguing:

“The Supreme Court ruling does not matter for our business strategy. It’s a political event. Whether or not the Supreme Court impacts the Affordable Care Act in some way, we still have to keep moving forward to impact the cost of care in America.”

“We’re really working right now on the underlying cost of health care. These investments we’re making are about finding a different way to make models work. We’re committed to fixing that, and feel like we need to fix that.

Bertolini makes a good point; in the short term the ACA will have a large impact on health care spending, but any policy response to the decision will pale in comparison to the demands of population aging and the long-term trend of rising health care costs. We are pleased to hear that Aetna has not stopped innovating in the run-up to the decision. Congress should do the same, as it will take both good ideas and some tough decisions if we are going to be able to seriously address the health care issue.

The full story can be found here, and check back to the Bottom Line for our reaction to the Supreme Court’s ruling.