Pelosi Speaks on Health Care Reform’s Birthday

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke in San Francisco today on the second anniversary of the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. More than 100 people, mostly women and seniors, gathered at an event hosted by the EQUAL Health Network, the Alliance for Retired Americans, and several women’s groups.

“This law is about innovation – using information technology to cut down costs, delivering personalized care to every patient, investing in cutting-edge biomedical research and preventing diseases before they happen,” Pelosi wrote in an op-ed that appeared today in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Most of the act’s major provisions don’t go into effect until 2014, but part of Pelosi’s column, as well as her speech, focused on PPACA‘s effects so far. For example, young adults can now stay on their parents’ health plans up to age 26, and small employers have used the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit to help them provide insurance for their workers.

The other part of Pelosi’s speech discussed the opposition to the act. On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments concerning challenges to the law.

“We feel confident about the legislation that we wrote and its constitutionality,” Pelosi said.

But only certain parts of the law are being challenged, and even if the court determines they are unconstitutional, PPACA will likely survive beyond this spring.

Later this year the law will again be challenged by the Republican presidential nominee. Those vying for the spot, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, have all said they oppose the law.

President Barak Obama’s Administration has had a huge impact on the health information technology space through legislation that encourages the tech’s adoption. But the most significant piece of legislation from the administration in this area was the HITECH Act, passed in 2009. HITECH created the incentives that led many health care facilities to adopt electronic medical records.

The largest direct impact that PPACA has on HIT involves the requirement for states to establish online health benefits exchanges. Starting in 2014, people without health insurance will buy their plans here.

The health care bill has also indirectly impacted the HIT field. PPACA will reform payment models for health care providers, moving away from fee for service. Physicians will be held more responsible for their patients’ outcomes and follow up care. The resulting need for more effective ways to manage and care for patients, according to the act’s new guidelines, has been the inspiration for many new health 2.0 companies and products.

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