KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

The Health Law Decision: How It Might Shake Out

News outlets continue to report on the various ways the court might rule on the health law and how those rulings could impact stakeholders and how various policymakers -- from the White House to Congress to state officials -- are preparing for the decision.

Politico: 3 Health Care Scenarios For The President
Chaos: Mandate struck down, other parts preserved. Many SCOTUS watchers think one of the most likely scenarios is that the court will toss out the individual mandate and keep the rest of the law. ... Clarity: The whole law goes down. It may seem paradoxical but losing the entire law is probably a more palatable political alternative for the White House than killing it in agonizing pieces. ... Miracle: Law is upheld. The notion that Chief Justice John Roberts will suddenly discover his inner Earl Warren isn't outside the realm of possibility (Haberkorn, Thursh and Samuelsohn, 6/8).

Kaiser Health News/USA Today: What Happens After Health Law Ruling?
Since President Obama's health care law passed in 2010, the federal government, states, insurers, doctors and hospitals have been building a complex scaffolding to extend insurance to 30 million more Americans. The question is: Will the structure be completed, or dismantled? (Rau, 6/7). 

Reuters: U.S. Administration Ready For Health Ruling: Sebelius
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on Thursday the administration will be ready to respond if the Supreme Court strikes down all or part of the healthcare reform law in a landmark ruling expected this month. Speaking at a White House forum on the law and women's health issues, Sebelius said the administration remains "confident and optimistic" that the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be upheld as constitutional (6/7).

Politico Pro: W.H. Ready But Not Planning Health Ruling
Ready. But not planning. That's the message coming from the Obama administration as it awaits the Supreme Court decision on the health law later this month. "We'll be ready for court contingencies," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a White House women's health forum Thursday. But she and other administration officials have been saying ever since the case was argued in March that they are confident the Supreme Court will uphold the law and they are not working on any backup plans if parts are knocked down (Haberkorn and Feder, 6/8).

CQ HealthBeat: Whatever High Court Decides, GOP Still Committed Health Care Law Repeal, Boehner Says
House Speaker John A. Boehner on Thursday reiterated his party’s commitment to a full repeal of the 2010 health care law, but he didn’t rule out that the House GOP would take steps before the election to address some of the law’s popular benefits if the Supreme Court strikes down the entire overhaul. At a press conference Thursday, Boehner was asked if the law is thrown out what House Republicans would do to protect young adults from being kicked off their parents’ insurance plans, individuals with pre-existing conditions from losing coverage and seniors from falling into the coverage gap known as the doughnut hole (Attias, 6/7).

Des Moines Register: Hatch: State Leaders Should Huddle After Supreme Court Rules On Health Reform
An Iowa Senate Democrat is trying to organize a bipartisan summit meeting on health care, but he’s getting a cool reception from Republicans. Sen. Jack Hatch said Thursday that he wants Iowa leaders to get together soon after the Supreme Court rules on President Obama’s health-reform program. ... Hatch said at a press conference that Iowa leaders should move forward right away after the court announces its rulings (Leys, 6/7).

Kaiser Health News: Wallack On Vermont's Goal: 'Universal, Affordable Coverage' (Video)
KHN's Marilyn Werber Serafini talks with Anya Rader Wallack, who is tasked with moving Vermont to a single payer health care system. She's confident the state would enact its own individual mandate requiring people to buy insurance even if the Supreme Court strikes down the federal mandate. But, she says, "We'll have to cover [people] without adding new resources to the system or raising taxes."  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 high court ruling (6/7).

And in related news about what the public thinks about the health law -

The New York Times' The Caucus: New Poll: The Supreme Court And The Health Care Law
More than two-thirds of Americans hope the Supreme Court will overturn some or all of the 2010 health care law, according to a new poll conducted by The New York Times and CBS News. Just 24 percent said they hoped the court "would keep the entire health care law in place" (Liptak and Kopicki, 6/7).

National Journal: Poll: Most Americans Want All Or Part Of Health Law Overturned
The poll, conducted by the New York Times and CBS News, reveals that more respondents disapprove of the law than approve, 48 percent to 34 percent. That marks only a one-percentage-point uptick in those who disapprove of the law since the last poll was conducted, in mid-April, but a five-percentage-point drop in those who approve. The percentage of people saying they want the court to throw out the entire law rose four points, from 37 percent to 41 percent, since the last CBS News/New York Times poll was conducted. About a quarter in the new poll -- 24 percent -- said they want the whole law upheld. The court heard arguments on the law in March and a ruling is expected this month (Jaffe, 6/8).

The Hill: Poll Finds Strong Support For High Court To Strike Down Health Law, Mandate
Nearly seven in 10 Americans hope the Supreme Court will decide against all or part of President Obama's healthcare reform law, according to a new poll. The finding comes as the country braces for the court's decision. A ruling is expected by the end of June. The New York Times and CBS News found that 41 percent of those surveyed want the entire law overturned while 27 percent want its key provision — the individual mandate to buy health insurance — struck down (Viebeck, 6/7).

San Francisco Chronicle: Nancy Pelosi Concedes Health Care Law Unpopular
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that people are not aware of the many benefits they are receiving from health care law they stand to lose if the Supreme Court rejects the law in a decision expected this month.The San Francisco Democrat was a chief architect of the 2010 law known as Obamacare, and as House Speaker at the time, perhaps more instrumental than anyone, even President Obama, in its enactment.The Democratic strategy was to front load the law’s popular parts, such as allowing children up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ policies, while backloading its unpopular parts, chiefly the mandate on individuals to purchase insurance (Lochhead, 6/7).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.