The ruling means that Congress' taxing authority is constitutional and lawmakers can require people to buy healthcare insurance. Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. sided with colleagues Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan in upholding the mandate as a tax.
The high court's ruling is not expected to significantly affect imaging. W. Kenneth Davis Jr., an attorney with Katten Muchin Rosenman, told AuntMinnie.com that imaging in general is not called out in the law.
"The pressure that imaging is under is not going to change," Davis said. "I don't think it's necessarily going to become more acute unless some of the purported cost savings created by [the act] go away, in which case there may be heightened pressure to find additional savings from various forces."
Davis added that the issue of Medicare's sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula still hangs like a dark cloud over imaging. "If there ever is a permanent fix to SGR, imaging is going to get particularly gored," he said. "Whether this law is upheld or not, I don't think it will have a significant impact on imaging."
Stephen Lieber, president and CEO of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), said his organization is "relieved that questions about the healthcare reform law have now been settled and the nation can move forward with the essential work of transforming healthcare in America."
He noted that with all the potential implications for healthcare IT in the law, the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records Incentive Program was never in jeopardy, regardless of the court's ruling. That program was authorized by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.
American Heart Association (AHA) CEO Nancy Brown applauded the court decision in a statement, saying the ruling "will benefit America's heart health for decades to come."
The decision "sent a clear message that patients should be the first priority in an ever-changing healthcare arena," she said. "The court's action in support of the ACA helps remind us what's really important -- enabling all Americans to obtain affordable, quality healthcare."