Meanwhile, the Federation of American Hospitals (PDF), which represents the for-profit hospital sector, lauded the increased access the law would offer.
“Today's decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act will enable millions of Americans to soon obtain health insurance coverage,” FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn said in a prepared statement. “This outcome also sustains the ability of hospitals to continually improve health care quality and transform the health care delivery system.”
The FAH's not-for-profit counterparts at the American Hospital Association called the ruling historic.
“But transforming the delivery of healthcare will take much more than the strike of a gavel or stroke of a pen,” American Hospital Association President and CEO Richard Umbdenstock (PDF) said in written statement. “It calls for the entire healthcare community to continue to work together, along with patients and purchasers, to implement better coordinated, high-quality care.”
Various state hospital associations followed the AHA's lead in praising the ruling, saying it validates some of their steps taken to prepare for the law's implementation.
“The goal is to create new and efficient models of healthcare delivery to improve outcomes and lower costs,” Illinois Hospital Association President and CEO Maryjane Wurth said in a prepared statement.
Although officials from state associations say they'll need more time to read through the decision, they say the ruling gives hospitals a better idea of where the future of healthcare is heading.
“While the ruling is expected to increase demand for medical care, Ohio's hospitals are pleased it will allow nearly 1 million uninsured Ohioans to obtain better access to essential care in the most appropriate setting,” Ohio Hospital Association President and CEO Mike Abrams said in a written statement. “While some provisions of the ACA merit further debate and amendment, Ohio hospitals believe leaving such refinement to future legislative action is a wise decision.”
Moody's Investors Service called the decision on the law "neutral" for not-for-profit hospitals but also noted that the reform law imposes a "net negative" impact on their outlook, which the ratings agency has already deemed negative.
In a "special comment' issued in the hours after the court ruled, Moody's cited a $150 million decline in Medicare payments to hospitals under the law as well as a transition to more challenging payment models, such as bundled payments, and penalties for readmissions. Moody's also suggested hosptials may see tougher negotiations with insurers, which will become increasingly regulated under key provisions of the law that take effect in 2014.