KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Business Sector Braces For Impact Of Supreme Court Review, Decision

Insurers and other parts of the health care industry are taking steps to brace for what the decision might be while also preparing for the changes the law puts in place.

Reuters: Analysis: Investors Weigh Chaos As High Court Reviews Health Law
What if all the work is for naught? That possibility comes into high relief for the healthcare industry starting on Monday, when the U.S. Supreme Court begins hearing arguments about the healthcare overhaul law. And it has investors and analysts attempting to handicap fallout from the high-profile decision. Shares of large health insurers appear to face little significant downside should the law be entirely tossed out or upheld -- at least in the near term. The major risk lies with a decision that strikes down just the part of the law that requires people to buy coverage (Krauskopf, 3/22).

Kaiser Health News: Health Industries Weigh In On Supreme Court Case
Before the raucous legislative battle to pass the health law in 2010, there was a quieter but significant process that brought health industry players to the negotiating table. Insurers, hospitals and drug makers all cut deals to help shape what would become the Affordable Care Act. Now, as the Supreme Court awaits arguments in one of the most closely watched cases in years, the deals are threatened along with the law (Hancock, 3/22).

The Associated Press: Insurers Speed Health Care Overhaul Preparations
The nation's big insurers are spending millions to carry out President Barack Obama's health care overhaul even though there's a chance the wide-reaching law won't survive Supreme Court scrutiny. It's not that health insurers want to bet big that the court will uphold the Affordable Care Act. It's that they can't afford not to. It will take at least several months and lots of resources for insurers to prepare to implement key elements of the law, which includes a controversial requirement that most Americans have health insurance by 2014 (Murphy, 3/23).

The Associated Press: Insurers Health Law Prep At A Glance
Health insurers have been implementing parts of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul and preparing for provisions yet to take effect, even as the Supreme Court prepares to review whether or not the 2010 law is constitutional (3/23).

Market Watch: Health-Care Ruling Could Be A Blow To Insurers
When the Supreme Court weighs a closely watched challenge to the overhaul of the U.S. health-care system, few observers will be on edge as much as the insurance industry. ... The central issue before the court is whether Congress can mandate that all individuals buy insurance, as spelled out in the Affordable Care Act that was passed in 2010. But if the court strikes down the mandate and leaves the rest of the law intact—a distinct possibility—that could spell disaster for health insurers and result in skyrocketing premiums for policyholders (Britt, 3/22).

Politico Pro: Insurers To Unroll Post-Mandate Message
Health insurers are preparing a massive messaging campaign over the next few months in case their worst-case scenario becomes reality: the Supreme Court strikes health care reform's individual mandate, but keeps everything else in the law — including provisions that change the way insurers do business. So as the Supreme Court starts oral arguments on the Affordable Care Act next week, health insurers will unroll a broad education campaign. It's not meant to influence the justices, who'll be ruling on the merits of the legal arguments. Instead, insurers are trying to advance the Washington policy discussion in case the worst happens for them. Insurers aren't saying yet exactly what they will want policymakers to do — and they are hoping the court rules in a way they don't have to (Millman, 3/23).

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