KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

High Court Swing Votes, Other Dynamics Offer Insights

News outlets offer different views on some of the dynamics in play for the Supreme Court's health law review. 

St. Louis Beacon:  Analysis: Supreme Court May Question Medicaid Expansion, A Pillar Of New Health Law
On the last of three days of arguments on the Affordable Care Act later this month, the U.S. Supreme Court will turn to the sleeper issue that could have the biggest impact on federal power -- Congress' authority under its spending power to require a big expansion of state Medicaid programs (Freivogel, 3/5).

Fox News: Scalia A Health Care Swing Vote? Obama Administration Not Counting Conservative Justices
In three weeks, the Supreme Court will entertain arguments over President Obama's health care law. At the heart of the entire law is the individual mandate, which requires every American to have health insurance coverage or pay a penalty. Though Justice Anthony Kennedy is often viewed as the swing vote on the current court, the administration isn't counting out the possibility it could win its case by persuading one of the so-called conservatives. In its briefs, the administration has frequently quoted from a 2005 opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia. In that case, Scalia wrote that Congress may use its authority under the Commerce Clause -- pertaining to interstate commerce -- to regulate an individual who wanted to grow medicinal marijuana at home and then sell it (Bream, 3/5).

California Healthline: Does California Ruling Help Handicap ACA In High Court?
The Supreme Court's consideration of back-to-back health care issues with potentially significant ramifications for California makes it tempting to look for connections. Last month, the Supreme Court essentially sidestepped the question of whether Medicaid providers and beneficiaries can sue a state if they believe the state is violating federal law. The decision to send Douglas v. Independent Living Centers back to California courts leaves several doors open for more legal questions -- or the same ones, asked differently. This month, the court will hear oral arguments in a much anticipated challenge of the Affordable Care Act's requirement that individuals obtain health insurance. … Does the California decision announced last month provide any insight into how the Supreme Court may rule in the national reform case to be heard this month? (Lauer, 3/5).

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