KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Day 1 At The Court: Is Time Right For Health Law Review?

Today's oral arguments before the Supreme Court will focus on whether an 1867 law -- the Anti-Injunction Act - allows the court to consider the challenges to the health law before the individual mandate provision takes effect in 2014.  

The Washington Post: Supreme Court To Hear Arguments On Timing Of Health-Care Ruling
The Supreme Court begins its constitutional review of the health-care overhaul law Monday with a fundamental question: Is the court barred from making such a decision at this time? The justices will hear 90 minutes of argument about whether an obscure 19th-century law — the Anti-Injunction Act — means that the court cannot pass judgment on the law until its key provisions go into effect in 2014. It is the rare issue on which both sides agree: the Obama administration lawyers and those representing the states and private organization challenging the new law argue that the Supreme Court should decide the constitutional question now (Barnes, 3/25).

The New York Times: Health Act Arguments Open With Obstacle From 1867
The Supreme Court on Monday starts three days of hearings on the constitutionality of the 2010 health care overhaul law, an epic clash that could recast the very structure of American government. But it begins with a 90-minute argument on what a lawyer in the case has called "the most boring jurisdictional stuff one can imagine." The main event — arguments over the constitutionality of the law's requirement that most Americans obtain insurance or pay a penalty — will not come until Tuesday (Liptak, 3/26).

Stateline: Supreme Court Hears First Issue: Jurisdiction
If the Medicaid portion of the health law is upheld, the work of expanding Medicaid access will be squarely on states' shoulders, although the initial financial burden will be primarily on Washington. States have already been laying the groundwork for the Medicaid expansion, because waiting until the court decides would mean missing the law's deadlines. For the same reason, most states have been developing so-called health insurance exchanges, the law's central mechanism for extending health care access to millions of uninsured Americans (Vestal, 3/26). 

Fox News: First Round Of Supreme Court Health Care Hearings Not About Health Care
For all the anticipation leading up to this week's historic arguments, Monday morning's opener at the Supreme Court isn't about the law itself. It's about the rules of the game. The day may prove disappointing to anyone looking for a vigorous constitutional argument or a hint of how the justices will ultimately rule on the merits of the dispute. Still, the fate of the case rests on this opening round (Ross, 3/26).

Bloomberg: Court Opens Health-Care Debate With Law That Might Derail Case
The U.S. Supreme Court opens today its historic review of President Barack Obama’s health- care law, three days of arguments that might result in the president’s premier legislative achievement being found unconstitutional in the middle of his re-election campaign. The court will determine the fate of a measure designed to extend insurance to about 32 million people and revamp an industry that accounts for 18 percent of the U.S. economy. The six hours of planned debate is the most on a case in 44 years (Stohr, 3/26).

NewsHour: Health Care Reform Heads To The Supreme Court: A Guide To Day 1
Between Monday and Wednesday, the justices will consider several issues, including whether it's constitutional for the federal government to force Americans either to buy health insurance or pay a fine. ... What can we expect on the first day of arguments in this historic case? (Kane, 3/26).

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