High Court uncertainty raises stakes in health law guessing game

High Court uncertainty raises stakes in health law guessing game

News outlets offer scene setters exploring the dynamics at play at the high court and the importance of the pending ruling on the constitutionality of the health law. They also look at how the decision will impact different parts of the health care sector, ranging from safety-net providers and investors to patient safety advocates and employers.

News outlets offer scene setters exploring the dynamics at play at the high court and the importance of the pending ruling on the constitutionality of the health law. They also look at how the decision will impact different parts of the health care sector, ranging from safety-net providers and investors to patient safety advocates and employers.

The Associated Press: Possible Outcomes In Pending Health Care Law Case
Some are already anticipating the Supreme Court's ruling on President Barack Obama's health care law as the "decision of the century." But the justices are unlikely to have the last word on America's tangled efforts to address health care woes. The problems of high medical costs, widespread waste, and tens of millions of people without insurance will require Congress and the president to keep looking for answers, whether or not the Affordable Care Act passes the test of constitutionality (Sherman and Alonso-Zaldivar, 6/18).

Bloomberg: Health-Care Ruling Cloaked in Court Secrecy Spurs Guessing Game
In the next two weeks, John Roberts will sit in his high-backed, black leather chair in the U.S. Supreme Court's marble courtroom and tell a hushed crowd that the justices are about to rule on health care. It will be the most dramatic moment in Roberts's seven years as chief justice and one of the biggest for Barack Obama as president. The country will learn the fate of the law that has largely defined Obama's presidency, a measure approved on a party-line vote in Congress with a promise to provide health insurance to almost every American while overhauling an industry that makes up about 18 percent of the economy (Stohr, 6/18).

CNN (Video): Looming Health Care Ruling Will Be Among Supreme Court's Most Important
Winners and losers are the natural consequence of the American legal system. In the Supreme Court, five majority votes among the nine members are enough to fundamentally change lives and legacies. The high court in coming days will issue rulings in perhaps its most important appeal in a dozen years: whether the sweeping health care law championed by President Barack Obama will be tossed out as an unconstitutional exercise of congressional authority. The stakes cannot be overstated -- what the justices decide on a quartet of separate questions will have immediate and long-term impact on every American, not only in the field of medicine but in vast, untold areas of "commerce." Health care expenditures alone currently make up 18% of the U.S. economy, and the new law promises to significantly expand that share (Mears, 6/18).

Kaiser Health News: Uncertainty Over Law Casts Shadow Over Health Care Innovations
The health care law placed the force and money of the federal government behind a decade's worth of ideas on how to improve patient care and change the ways doctors and hospitals function. While this part of the health care law is at the periphery of the Supreme Court challenge, these changes could be halted if the court throws out the entire law, and some experts say they might be hobbled even if the justices excise just parts of the Affordable Care Act (Rau, 6/17).

Market Watch: Health-Care Stocks Facing A Judgment Day
For the last 27 months, the health-care industry has been operating under the assumption that everyone has to get insurance, and insurers have to accept everyone who wants it. That all could be undone as early as Monday, when Supreme Court is expected to issue its rulings on the 2010 health-care overhaul measure. If the justices overturn any part of the law, expect significant portions of the health-care sector to be upended (Britt, 6/15).

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Health Care Reform Uncertainty Has Safety-Net Providers In Limbo
The court's decision could be a game changer for such organizations as Access Now, and the local free clinics, community health centers and private providers that make up a health care safety net, providing health care to patients who otherwise might go without. "If all the Obamacare goes through and everything's constitutional, and we go ahead, probably 50 to 60 percent of our patients are going to qualify for Medicaid," said Connie Moslow, executive director of the Free Clinic of Powhatan. "Now, does that mean they are going to take it? It puts the free clinics in kind of a precarious situation also, because our thing is we provide health care to the uninsured," she said. "How do we adjust" (Smith, 6/17)?

ProPublica: Could The Supreme Court's Health Care Ruling Kill Patient Safety Reforms?
In all the talk about the Supreme Court's impending health care reform ruling, one question is often overlooked: What might happen to the many patient safety and quality of care provisions sprinkled through the Affordable Care Act? They include a new Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, more reporting of infections, injuries and mistakes in hospitals, and incentives for doctors and other providers to improve the care they provide. Those among the nation's 50 million uninsured who manage to get health coverage will also get better medical care than piecemeal or nonexistent version they now receive. We've been talking about quality of care on Facebook with more than 700 users who've joined our discussion group on patient safety. The Supreme Court could uphold the entire health care law or kill it, extinguishing its quality initiatives. Or the court could strike down the mandate to buy insurance alone -; a possibility that has long-time SCOTUS watchers on the edge of their seats. What then happens to the rest of the law no one really knows (Pierce and Allen, 6/15).

CNN Money: For 20-Somethings, Health Care Hangs In The Balance
Millions of young adults have turned to their parents' health insurance plans since the Affordable Care Act went into effect. For Liz Wilson, and many others her age, it was the only option …The legal dispute is centered around the individual mandate provision, which requires most Americans to buy health insurance or face financial penalty. While the mandate is separate from the provision that protects young adults, the court could strike down the entire legislation. This could leave millions of young adults uninsured. About 2.5 million 19-to-26-year-olds obtained health coverage as a result of the provision, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimated in December. Most have had a hard time getting employer-sponsored coverage in a down economy (Fox, 6/16).

Fox Business: Employers Still Plan To Provide Health Coverage In 2014
The Supreme Court is expected to issue its ruling on the constitutionality of President Obama's health-care overhaul by the end of the month--forcing many corporations to stay in a holding pattern as they await the fate of their health plans. However, according to a new study by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, the majority of employers do not plan to change their health-care plans by 2014--even though they are bracing for added costs. According to the 2012 Employer Action Survey,  86.4% of employers do not anticipate making any changes in their employee's health insurance offerings (Tuggle, 6/15).

The Hill: Supreme Court Police Prepared For Ruling On Health Care Reform Law
The Supreme Court is prepared to handle any protests that arise after the decision on President Obama's healthcare law. Court Public Information Officer Kathleen Arberg would not comment on how many threats the court received during oral arguments in the politically charged case, but said Supreme Court police are prepared to maintain security after the opinion is delivered (Siegelbaum, 6/18).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

Source: www.news-medical.net