KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Democrats Offer Optimistic Take On Court’s Health Law Decision

Appearing on the Sunday talk shows, Vice President Joseph Biden and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., defended the health law and predicted it would be upheld by the high court.

The Washington Post: Biden Says Supreme Court Will Uphold Health-Care Law
Days after the Supreme Court wrapped up oral arguments on the constitutionality of the national health-care overhaul, Vice President Biden predicted Sunday that the high court will not throw out the Obama administration' signature agenda item (Sonmez, 4/1).

The Hill: Biden: 'Don't Believe' High Court Will Strike Down Health Care Law
When host Bob Schieffer pressed the vice president further on what the consequences of an invalidated healthcare law would be, Biden declined to imagine the possibilities. "Look I'm not going to speculate about something I don't believe will happen. I don't believe it will happen," Biden said (Leven, 4/1).

Politico: Biden: Supreme Court Will Back 'Obamacare'
Vice President Joe Biden predicts the Supreme Court will uphold the new health care law, despite the blundering defense of the administration's signature accomplishment by Solicitor General Donald Verrilli (Boak, 4/1).

Politico: Schumer Says Safety Net Could Be At Risk
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said on Sunday the entire social safety net could be yanked out from under Americans if the Supreme Court overturns the new health care law. The case argued before the court last week rests on whether the law requiring health insurance is allowed under the Constitution’s interstate commerce clause, a basis for many federal programs. "If they were to throw out the health care law, things like Medicare, Social Security, food safety laws could be in jeopardy on the very same ground," the Democrat said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "It would be a dramatic, 180 degree turn of the tradition of the commerce clause" (Boak, 4/1).

Fox News: Dean: Individual Mandate 'Not Really Necessary'
Former Democratic Party chief Howard Dean said Sunday that the so-called individual mandate is "not really necessary" to the federal health care overhaul, and said a Supreme Court decision to invalidate the provision could end up helping President Obama. The Supreme Court met privately on Friday to discuss the case, though a decision is not expected to be made public until June. A central challenge in the case was over whether the requirement that Americans buy health insurance is constitutional. Further, the justices heard arguments on whether a ruling against the mandate should invalidate the health care law as a whole (4/1).

In other news, Politico reports that the state attorneys general involved in the case find themselves in the political limelight.

Politico: State Attorneys General Work The Limelight
They came to Washington to make the case for overturning the Obama administration’s health care law. They left after a burst of free media and attention in the wake of the Supreme Court arguments, an intense dose of publicity that most politicians only dream of. While serving as a state’s top law enforcement official has always been one of the better stepping stones to higher office, the ambitious attorneys general who have led the charge against the Affordable Care Act ...  appear to have found an issue that could advance their political fortunes regardless of how the court rules (Hohmann, 4/1).

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