KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Sides Counting Down To Supreme Court Health Reform Arguments

News outlets noted that the historic arguments over the 2010 reform law are less than 10 days away.

The Associated Press: 'Obamacare' Foes Fear Ballooning Big Government
They're coming. The mom from North Carolina who opposes vaccinations and dislikes doctors and chooses to forgo health coverage because, she says, it is her right as an American. The Massachusetts Navy vet who feels health reform in his state has limited choice and ballooned costs. ... They will stand a few blocks from the U.S. Supreme Court, clutching handmade signs and chanting as one as the high court prepares to hear arguments — and renew debate — over a health care law that has divided Americans and become a rallying point among a chunk of the electorate for whom "change" has come to mean "repeal" (Arrillaga, 3/17).

The Associated Press: Court Weighs Making Health Coverage A Fact Of Life
Can the government really tell us what to buy? Federal judges have come down on both sides of the question, leaving it to the Supreme Court to sort out. The justices are allotting an unusually long period, six hours over three days, beginning March 26, to hear arguments challenging the law's constitutionality. Their ruling, expected in June, is shaping up as a historic moment in the century-long quest by reformers to provide affordable health care for all (Cass, 3/17).

ABC News: Health Care: Liberals Eye Scalia and Roberts Vote
If, as expected, the four liberal justices vote to uphold the law, the government will need the vote of at least one of the five justices nominated to the bench by a Republican president. Speculation has gone into overdrive. Will the Supreme Court divide down ideological lines on the key provision of the law that requires most individuals to buy health insurance by 2014, and leave the decision in the hands of Justice Anthony Kennedy? What will be the impact of the opinions of two conservative lower court judges who voted to uphold the individual mandate?  (de Vogue, 3/17).

The Hill: Supreme Court Rules Out Television Cameras For Healthcare Debte
The Supreme Court on Friday rejected calls to allow television cameras into its chambers during arguments over President Obama's healthcare law. The court said it would release same-day audio recordings of the arguments, scheduled for March 26-28. It cited the "extraordinary public interest" in the case, which could lead to President Obama's signature domestic achievement being struck down in the midst of the campaign season. The court normally releases audio at the end of the week (Baker, 3/16).

The New York Times: Health Law Hearings: Justices Plan Daily Tapes
The court said the recordings would be available on its Web site around 2 p.m. each day for arguments held that morning, and around 4 p.m. for the argument to be held on the afternoon of March 28. ... From 2000 to 2010, the court released same-day audio recordings 21 times, starting with two in the case that came to be known as Bush v. Gore and ending with Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. In other cases, recordings were not released until the end of the term (Liptak, 3/16).

NPR's SHOTS blog: Supreme Court Will Release Same-Day Audio Of Health Care Arguments
As the health care arguments grew near, however, the drumbeat for same-day access grew louder, and the court faced the prospect of people lining up around the building for days in advance, and sleeping there overnight, waiting to get one of the 400 seats in the courtroom. That may happen anyway, but the size of the crowds now will likely be diminished (Totenberg, 3/16).

Roll Call: SCOTUS to Release Health Care Transcripts, Audio More Quickly
Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, who has long lobbied for the Court to allow cameras in its hearing room, called it "a step forward."... Judiciary ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said the court needs to do more to increase transparency of its deliberations on the health care law(Brady, 3/16).

Related, from KHN:

The Supreme Court Decides: Health Law At The High Court 

Chart: Legal Questions And Answers That Will Decide The Health Law’s Fate 

The Health Law And The Supreme Court: A Primer For The Upcoming Oral Arguments (Taylor Jr., 3/15)


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