America Awaits Supreme Court's Ruling on Health Reform Law

Whether or not the polarizing Affordable Care Act is upheld, debate over the cost of health care will continue, experts say

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A majority of working-age adults and children in America -- 53.5 percent in 2010, according to a study by the National Institute for Health Care Reform -- have coverage through an employer-sponsored health plan.

Tracy Watts, a senior consultant in the Washington, D.C., office of the consulting firm Mercer LLC, said people in employer-sponsored plans can expect to see continuing efforts to replace traditional coverage with so-called consumer-directed plans, which pair a high-deductible plan with some type of savings account. There will also be greater use of incentives for individuals to stay healthy and manage chronic conditions, and higher out-of-pocket costs, she said.

"With or without reform, employers are focused on how to manage costs," Watts said.

"ObamaCare" opponents, however, suggest that the public would be better off if the Supreme Court were to invalidate the entire law.

"One of the criticisms that has been leveled at people who say this [law] should go down is, 'Well, we don't want to go back to the way it was,' and we agree 100 percent that the way it was prior to the passage of this law was not working," said Dr. Richard Armstrong, a general surgeon in Newberry, Mich., and chief operating officer of Docs4PatientCare, whose members oppose the Affordable Care Act.

Instead, the organization backs a series of free-market reforms that would put health-care spending decisions back in consumers' hands.

"The bottom line in this is that we need to get back to some fiscal sanity in America," Armstrong said.

More information

The Kaiser Family Foundation has a primer on the Supreme Court's review of the health-care reform law.

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