Houston partner Susan Feigin Harris and Healthcare Policy Analyst Kathleen Rubinstein co-authored a guest column, "A Health Reform Workaround," which was published in the March 4, 2010, edition of Law360. Click to read the full article, courtesy of Law360.
According to Harris and Rubinstein, although the general sentiment is that health reform is on its last leg, certain elements keep propelling us forward:
The authors continue: "In what could be an alternative strategy to incorporate provisions from the House and Senate reform bills into a diffuse array of legislative initiatives and regulatory measures, President Obama introduced his FY 2011 federal budget proposal on Feb. 1, 2010. Characterizing health care costs as 'the single biggest threat to our nation’s fiscal future,' the administration's $3.8 trillion budget request to Congress assumes enactment of specific provisions from the now-stalled reform legislation, saving an anticipated $150 billion over 10 years . . . With the fate of comprehensive health reform legislation still in question, the president's budget proposal underscores the administration's intent to pursue a number of health care payment and delivery system reforms."
Harris and Rubinstein conclude: "Reforms? Yes, they are coming still and likely will surface in a multitude of vehicles—not only via the budget and 'must pass' legislation, but also through regulation, demonstration projects and by executive order. As a result, the health care industry should not sit back and breathe a collective sigh of relief. Rather, providers should be positioning themselves, strategically, to address growing downward financial pressures, the call for innovations involving greater physician-hospital integration, and the establishment of new models for delivery aimed at creating medical homes for patients."