KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Administration Seeks Quick Supreme Court Health Law Ruling

This Justice Department step is being viewed as a signal that the Obama administration wants the high court to decide the question of the health law's constitutionality before the 2012 presidential election.

Bloomberg: "President Barack Obama's administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the landmark health-care law, in a move that may lead to a ruling months before the 2012 presidential election. Calling the issue 'a matter of grave national importance,' administration lawyers today appealed a lower court ruling that declared part of the law unconstitutional. Earlier in the day, 26 states challenging the law filed their own appeal, saying the lower court should have gone further and voided the whole statute" (Stohr, 9/28).

The New York Times: "The development came unexpectedly fast and makes it all but certain that the court will soon agree to hear one or more cases involving challenges to the law, with arguments by the spring and a decision by June, in time to land in the middle of the 2012 presidential campaign. ... On Monday, the administration decided that it would not seek review from the full 11th Circuit. Its Supreme Court petition was not due until November. Also on Wednesday, two sets of plaintiffs who had won on the core issue in the 11th Circuit filed their own request for Supreme Court review" (Liptak, 9/28). 

The Associated Press: "The word from Justice is the Obama administration's first indication that it wants an up-or-down ruling before the 2012 presidential election on the law that aims to extend insurance coverage to more than 30 million Americans" (Sherman, 9/28).

Politico: "The move could mark the beginning of the end of months of legal and political wrangling over whether President Barack Obama's signature legislative accomplishment can go forward" (Haberkorn, 9/28).

ABC News: The National Federation of Business joined the 26 states in petitioning the court. "In a statement, Karen Harned, executive director of NFIB's Small Business Legal Center said, 'The sooner the court takes up this case, the sooner small businesses and individuals will know whether they will have to bear the full weight, financially and economically, of this bad law'" (deVogue, 9/28).

The Wall Street Journal: "The states, represented by Republican governors and attorneys general, and the National Federation of Independent Business asked the Supreme Court to overturn the portions of the ruling they lost. ... The states said in their petition that they 'need to know whether they must adapt their policies to deal with the brave new world ushered in by the [law]'" (Kendall, 9/28).

USA Today: "Appeals courts have split on the question of whether the administration can constitutionally require most Americans to buy health insurance, but administration spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said the president is confident of prevailing at the high court" (Jackson, 9/28).

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