The federal health reform law already has transformed the way health care is delivered in the U.S., and those changes are likely to remain whether or not the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the overhaul, a top Obama administration official and a Senate Democrat said during a health care forum on Tuesday, the New York Times reports (Pear, New York Times, 5/22).
The forum -- which was sponsored by the Center for American Progress and focused on strategies to deliver better care at lower costs -- included Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Richard Gilfillan, director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation at CMS (Clark, Government Executive, 5/22).
Whitehouse said the "delivery system reforms will survive, and we should not be stalling and dawdling because we are anxious about what the court will do." Gilfillan added that he believes the reforms have inspired the marketplace, which "is boiling with new ideas, new opportunities" (New York Times, 5/22).
As an example, Gilfillan said a CMS grant offer to gather ideas for interpreting data on cost savings from bundling payments drew nearly 3,000 applications from private health care providers (Government Executive, 5/22).
Whitehouse and Gilfillan also cited several other examples that have spurred improvements in the care delivery system, such as:
- Coordinating care;
- Rewarding providers who deliver high-quality care;
- Penalizing providers who subject patients to unnecessary risks;
- Setting fixed payments to physicians and hospitals for bundled services;
- Designating a "medical home" with a primary care physician for patients; and
- Setting financial penalties on hospitals with high readmission rates (New York Times, 5/22).