KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Worrying About The Court’s Much-Awaited Health Law Decision

Elected officials, policy-makers and advocates discuss the possible twists and turns that could result from a high court ruling. News outlets also report on how the decision could impact a variety of health programs, including Medicare, Medicaid and disease prevention efforts.

The Hill: House GOP Concedes 'Mess' Will Result From Partial Health Care Repeal
House Republicans conceded on Tuesday that they will have a "mess" to deal with if the Supreme Court rules portions of the president's health care law are unconstitutional. All eyes on Capitol Hill are focused on the high court as lawmakers await the much anticipated ruling, which is expected by the end of the month. The court could come down with several positions — it could uphold the 2,700-page law passed by a Democratic-controlled Congress, or it could toss it out completely. Another possibility is that the court will rule the mandate that consumers buy insurance is unconstitutional, but that the mandate is "severable" from the rest of the law, which can then stand on its own (Hooper, 6/5).

Roll Call: GOP Mulls Health Care Tacks
While nothing is certain until the justices release their decision, the implications are undeniable: No matter which way the court decides, it is sure to unleash a firestorm of political posturing and punditry that will propel the somewhat dormant issue of health care forcefully back into the election year messaging fray. From House Republicans’ perspective, the first step is clear: If the law is upheld fully or even partially, GOP leaders plan to pass a full repeal. "We are, I think, united that if there is not a full overturn of the law, that we will put a repeal measure on the floor to totally repeal Obamacare," Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told reporters today (Newhauser, 6/6).

MedPageToday: Supreme Court: Decision Nears On 'Obamacare'
The Supreme Court is expected to announce its ruling on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this month, and with the countdown started speculation about the impact of that decision is heating up on both sides of the "Obamacare" debate. And both sides predict disaster for doctors -- massive disruption if the law is struck down -- or if it is upheld. If the court decides to go with something in between, confusion is likely to be the short-term result. Health policy experts generally list five possible scenarios for how the Supreme Court might rule (Walker, 6/5).

National Journal: Poll: No Blame If Court Nixes Health Care Law
Even though President Obama fought for passage of the landmark 2010 health care law, very small minorities say their attitudes about him would change one way or the other should the Supreme Court strike down the law that is so often referred to as "Obamacare." Two-thirds of those surveyed in a new public-opinion poll said that their respect for Obama would be unchanged if the Supreme Court struck down his signature legislative achievement. Fourteen percent said they would respect Obama more under such a scenario, while 15 percent said they would respect him less (Sanger-Katz, 6/5).

Politico Pro: State Worry Cuts Could Hurt Implementation
In Washington, a sneeze by Chief Justice John Roberts might generate a three-day story about its implications for the Affordable Care Act. But in state capitals around the country, the fate of President Barack Obama's health care law — and its impact on his presidency — is among a slew of potentially grave threats to their health programs. Whether the Supreme Court upholds, eliminates or strikes portions of the 2010 law, the drama will be far from over for state agencies tasked with implementing it (Cheney, 6/6).

Kaiser Health News: Michigan Medicaid Director: 'A Struggle' To Meet Deadlines If Law Upheld (Video)
Kaiser Health News' Mary Agnes Carey talks to Michigan Medicaid Director Steve Fitton about how it will be a "struggle" for his state to be ready to implement the health law on schedule if the Supreme Court upholds the measure. This interview is part of KHN's video series "Supreme Uncertainty: What's Next After The Court Rules," which solicits views from public officials and policy experts about the upcoming Supreme Court ruling on the health law and its implications for the future of health care (6/5).

Reuters: Health Care Court Ruling Could Paralyze Medicare
Opponents of President Barack Obama's health care law have been predicting dire consequences for seniors on Medicare ever since the legislation was signed last year. The warnings are mostly political spin, but there could be real problems if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act this month. … Important improvements to Medicare would disappear if the high court decides to toss out the entire law. The decision could paralyze the Medicare system because the act lays out the benefits, payment rates and delivery systems. Some of the changes already have been implemented, and others are works in progress (Miller, 6/5).

CQ HealthBeat: Public Health Lobby: Throwing Out Health Care Law Wouldn't End All Its Prevention Provisions
A number of the provisions of the health care law that relate to preventing disease could continue to be implemented even if the U.S. Supreme Court throws out the entire health care law, according to Trust for America's Health. The group says, for example, that President Obama has already used an executive order to create the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council required by the law (Reichard, 6/5).

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