KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Conservative Lawyers Offer New Argument Against Health Law’s Mandate

The lawyers who helped bring the first challenge against the health law's individual mandate think they've figured out another way to kill it using the Supreme Court's own argument that it's a tax. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama's Justice Department files to dismiss an Oklahoma lawsuit challenging the law's implementation.

Politico Pro: Lawyers Behind SCOTUS Challenge Find New Tax Argument Against Mandate
The lawyers who inspired the legal challenge to the health reform law's individual mandate think they've found a way to use the Supreme Court’s own logic to undo the mandate after all. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed Thursday, David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey, who were the first to publicly suggest challenging the mandate and represented the 26 states in the trial court, argue that there's a vulnerability in the reasoning of the Supreme Court decision that upheld the law. They say that if the mandate's penalty is a tax — as the court ruled — it has to be applied uniformly or it is unconstitutional. They write that low-income people can get out of the tax by enrolling in Medicaid — a choice that won't exist in states that refuse to expand the program (Haberkorn, 12/6)

The Associated Press: US Files To Dismiss Oklahoma Health Care Lawsuit
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt's lawsuit challenging the federal health care overhaul amounts only to a "difference of opinion" and should be dismissed, lawyers for the federal government say. Pruitt is challenging the health care law's implementation. Lawyers for the federal government filed papers Monday urging U.S. District Judge Ronald White to throw out the case (Talley, 12/6).

Meanwhile, the high court may soon be looking at another health-related dispute that affects how fast lower-priced generic drugs come to market .

Bloomberg: Generic Drug Accords Face Review By U.S. Supreme Court
A multibillion-dollar fight between the drug industry and antitrust enforcers is poised to get U.S. Supreme Court review in a case that may determine how quickly low-price generic medicines reach the market. The justices will say as early as today whether they'll scrutinize "pay for delay" agreements that the Federal Trade Commission says cost customers $3.5 billion each year. Under the accords, brand-name drugmakers pay other companies to hold off selling generic versions. The pharmaceutical industry says the accords are legitimate settlements of patent disputes (Stohr, 12/7).

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