KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

What’s In Store At The Supreme Court

News outlets report on the issues in play when the high court hears the health law oral arguments later this month, how particular justices might form their opinions and lay out the new, all-or-nothing position adopted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Kaiser Health News: The Health Law And The Supreme Court: A Primer For The Upcoming Oral Arguments
How big is the constitutional challenge to the Obama health care law, which the Supreme Court will hear on March 26-28? For starters, it's big enough for the justices to schedule six hours of arguments -- more time than given to any case since 1966. After all, the Affordable Care Act is arguably the most consequential domestic legislation since the creation of Medicare in 1965 (Taylor, 3/15).

ABC: Health Care: Liberals Eye Scalia And Roberts Vote
With less than two weeks to go before the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear six hours of oral arguments in the case challenging the constitutionality of the Obama Administration's health care law, supporters of the law are eyeing the votes of the more conservative justices. If, as expected, the four liberal justices vote to uphold the law, the government will need the vote of at least one of the five justices nominated to the bench by a Republican president. Speculation has gone into overdrive (de Vogue, 3/14).

Bloomberg: Big Business Wants All Or Nothing Court Ruling On Health Law
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the leading Washington lobbyist for big corporations, spent $86 million two years ago trying to keep the Obama administration's health-care overhaul from passing Congress. Now, as the Supreme Court is set to begin reviewing a key provision of the law, the group's message is different: If you can't kill it, don't maim it, the chamber said in a legal brief filed separately with the court.The chamber is among lobby groups for large companies caught between their own distaste for the law and the self-interest of members who have won concessions since it was passed (Wayne, 3/15).

Modern Healthcare: High Court Arguments On Reform Will Test Share Prices, Experts Say
Hospital share prices will be tested as the Supreme Court hears arguments on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, health policy experts said at a Nashville Health Care Council panel discussion. ... "If the expansion is struck, I think that would be a far greater surprise to the market than if the mandate is struck," said Paul Heldman, senior health policy analyst at the Potomac Research Group (Kutscher, 3/14).

Reuters: Day In Court For Healthcare Revives Public Fight
The fate of President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul will be debated at the Supreme Court this month, reviving controversy over his signature domestic policy achievement in a year when Americans vote on whether to give him a second term. Democrats and Republicans, backers and foes, are spoiling for a battle ahead of the court's six hours of hearings on March 26-28, the most time given to a single topic in 44 years (Morgan, 3/14).

Politico: Max Baucus Is Still Health Bill Fan
When the Supreme Court takes up the health care law a week from Monday, Max Baucus will be front and center to watch the proceedings. … Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, isn't exactly the loudest voice in the cheering section for the law. Most of that work is being done by top Obama administration officials, other Hill Democrats (especially in the House) and pro-reform groups. When there are new benefits of the law to talk about, or a damaging story to push back against, it's usually these other voices that get all the attention. But Baucus did write big pieces of the law, so he hasn't dropped off the face of the earth (Nocera, 3/14).

CQ HealthBeat: Congress Won't Agree On A Next Step If Health Care Law Is Gutted, Experts Say
If the Supreme Court strikes down part of the health care law, don't look for a quick solution from Congress to resolve the resulting chaos and confusion over implementation, two health policy experts on opposite sides of the partisan divide agreed Wednesday. Chris Jennings, former senior health care adviser in the Clinton administration, and Sheila Burke, former chief of staff to GOP Majority Leader Bob Dole, told a Kaiser Family Foundation forum that the atmosphere around the law has become so partisan and poisoned that they don’t see where agreement on a fix could be found (Norman, 3/14).

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