KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Medicaid Arguments At Court May Affect Other Federal Programs

The New York Times: Implications Are Far-Reaching in States’ Challenge of Federal Health Care Law
A major issue in the Supreme Court battle over the new health care law is whether Congress can force states to make a huge expansion of Medicaid, to add millions of low-income people to the rolls. States say the federal law is unconstitutionally coercive because all their Medicaid money would be at risk if they flout the new requirement. The states argument has implications that go far beyond health care (Pear, 3/23).

CNN: GOP Focuses On Health Care Law Repeal In Weekly Address
Ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court review of the health care reform law that many Republicans call "Obamacare," and a day after the law's two-year anniversary, Sen. Mitch McConnell used the GOP weekly address Saturday to hammer President Barack Obama over the measure. "The president was certainly right to join a call for health care reform," McConnell, of Kentucky and the Senate minority leader, said. "But the giant bill that he and others rammed through Congress has made things worse" (Wallace, 3/24).

The Hill: McConnell: Replace Healthcare Law With 'Step-By-Step Reforms'
McConnell's attack signals that on the second anniversary of the law's signing and ahead of the Supreme Court's review of it, the healthcare law has become Republicans’ top political messaging priority (Gemen, 3/24).

In other coverage Saturday of the upcoming court case and the health law -

The New York Times: A Lawyer Who Can Simplify the Complex Draws a Big One: Obama's Health Overhaul
If history is any guide, Donald B. Verrilli Jr. will hole up in a hotel close to the Supreme Court building, eat only salmon for dinner because it is said to help brain function, and give his undivided attention to the final preparations for what promises to be the biggest case of his life. Less than a year after becoming solicitor general, Mr. Verrilli will go before the Supreme Court for three days next week to defend the Obama administration’s health care overhaul law, one of the president’s signature and most controversial accomplishments (Urbina, 3/24). 

The Wall Street Journal: Health-Law Foes' Rocky Road To High Court
If the lawsuit contesting President Barack Obama's health-care overhaul is to succeed, it will have to overcome setbacks that left the challengers with unfavorable lower-court rulings and a less-than-ideal plaintiff. Some participants in the challenge say the setbacks could have been minimized with a more focused strategy that was proposed early on by some prominent conservative lawyers but never fully adopted, while others say any past stumbles will ultimately have little significance (Bravin, 3/23).

The Associated Press: How Health Care Case Will Unfold Before The Court
The Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments on Monday over President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, derisively labeled "Obamacare" by its opponents. A look at how the case will unfold before the court in question-and-answer form (Holland, 3/24).

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