Update: The Supreme Court Thursday upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by a vote of 5 - 4. The individual mandate provision survives as a tax.
When the U.S. Supreme Court makes public today its long-awaited ruling on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act it will go down as a seminal day in the high court's history. It may even affect the outcome of the presidential election in November.
Whatever the ruling, however, it will have a limited effect on healthcare's soaring costs, and no effect in the short term. That is because many court watchers, legal scholars, politicians, and media bloviators looking through the narrow lenses of their own expertise and biases incorrectly view healthcare reform as a battle to be determined in legal or political arenas.
Most people inside of healthcare know that the politics, histrionics, and legal wrangling over "ObamaCare" are sideshows. The need for healthcare reform is being driven not by some socialist agenda but by money and the relentless increases in healthcare costs that are crippling other sectors of the economy.
The cost of healthcare in the United States, closing in on $3 trillion annually, will soon equal about 20% of gross domestic product, which is roughly twice as much as healthcare spending in any other industrialized country. That is unsustainable.