KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Six State Attorneys General To Hear Supreme Court Health Law Arguments

Attorneys general from six states will sit in the Supreme Court to hear the oral arguments over the health reform law. In the meantime, Pennsylvania lawmakers may offer a constitutional amendment to ban laws mandating that people have health insurance.

Denver Post: AG Suthers Will Be In Supreme Court Chambers To Hear Obamacare Arguments
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers will be in Washington next week to sit in the Supreme Court chambers to hear oral arguments for the Affordable Care Act. Suthers is among 26 state Attorneys General who has sued the federal government for implementation of the health care law that passed two years ago. The group of state Attorneys General asked for 26 seats in the small chamber, but received six, Suthers told The Denver Post Monday. Suthers gets a seat along with state Attorneys General from Florida, South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas and Washington (Sherry, 3/19).

Kansas Health Institute News: Kansas Solicitor General Goes To D.C. For Health Reform Case
Attorney General Derek Schmidt has dispatched Kansas Solicitor General Stephen McAllister to Washington, D.C., to help prepare the attorneys representing Kansas and 25 other states in their challenge of the federal health reform law. ... McAllister, a former law clerk for two Supreme Court justices, will spend this week helping prepare former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement to present the states' case. Clement, who served in the most recent Bush administration, will present the states’ oral arguments to the court (McLean, 3/19).

Bloomberg: Pennsylvania Lawmakers Mine Discontent On Health Care Law
Pennsylvania (STOPA1) legislators are poised to become the latest to offer voters a chance to say yes or no to a key part of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, under challenges that have spread nationwide. A measure pending in the state Senate would let citizens ban laws forcing people to obtain health insurance, except under court order. The constitutional amendment proposed by the bill may go on ballots as soon as next year if lawmakers pass it and Republican Governor Tom Corbett signs the measure (Varghese, 3/20). 

In Connecticut, insurers headquartered there and state officials have very different ideas about what happens if the Supreme Court strikes down the health law ---

The Connecticut Mirror: Without Federal Law, Some Pieces Of Health Reform Could Continue In Connecticut 
[T]he creation of a marketplace for buying insurance coverage, known as a health insurance exchange, could happen even if the federal law is altered substantially, those planning the state's exchange say. Connecticut has already received more than $7 million in federal funds to develop the exchange, and is expected to have applied for most or all necessary federal start-up money by June, when the Supreme Court ruling is expected (Levin Becker, 3/19).  

The Connecticut Mirror: Connecticut Health Insurers Say End Of Health Mandate Is End Of Reform 
Few will be watching the arguments next week in front of the Supreme Court over the health care law more closely than Connecticut insurers whose financial health hinges on the justices' decision. ... The [individual] mandate, which would bring many young and healthy people into insurance pools, is what persuaded health insurers to accept other reforms in the health care act. "If you're going to ... take all comers, which the law requires by 2014, then you have to have a means to get the healthy people into the pool also," said Mickey Herbert, former CEO of ConnectiCare (Radelat, 3/19).

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