KHN Morning Briefing

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High Court Rules, 6-2, Against Vermont’s Health Data Law

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the court in one of the first cases since Antonin Scalia's death, says that the law, which requires insurance companies to provide state officials with health care data, could impose a major financial burden on health care providers.

The Associated Press: High Court Limits State Power To Gather Health Care Data
The Supreme Court says state officials can't force certain health insurers to turn over reams of data revealing how much they pay for medical claims. The justices ruled 6-2 that efforts by Vermont and at least 17 other states to gather and analyze the data conflict with federal law covering reporting requirements for employer health plans. The case involves Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., which operates a self-insured health plan for its workers and refused to turn its data over to Vermont. (3/1)

The Wall Street Journal: Supreme Court Rules Against Vermont Health-Care Data Law
The Supreme Court on Tuesday quashed state efforts to gather health-care data from insurance plans, ruling that such reporting requirements run afoul of federal laws regulating employee benefits. The case came from Vermont, where a 2005 law mandates that larger health insurance plans report “information relating to heath care costs, prices, quality, utilization or resources required” to a state database. (Bravin, 3/1)

The Connecticut Mirror: U.S. Supreme Court Deals Blow To CT Health Data Collection Effort
In a ruling that could have reverberations for a Connecticut health reform effort, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that certain health plans could not be required by a state to disclose data for use in a health care claims database. The court ruled 6-2 in the case, Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, which centered on whether health plans that are not governed by state law can nonetheless be required by a state to report data to a so-called all-payer claims database. The case centered on Vermont's law and database. (Levin Becker, 3/1)

Politico: SCOTUS Splits 6-2 On First Cases Since Scalia's Death
The Supreme Court split, 6-2, on Tuesday in the first cases decided since the death last month of Justice Antonin Scalia. In both cases, the court's four conservative justices voted together and picked up the votes of two of the Democratic-appointed justices, while the other two Democratic appointees dissented. In the second case, the court ruled that federal law overrules a Vermont statute that requires insurance companies to report health-claims data to the state. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, which Justice Clarence Thomas joined with some reservations. Sotomayor and Kagan dissented. (Gerstein, 3/1)

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