KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Longer Looks At Supreme Court Battle: Justices’ Interactions Key To Decision

Every week, reporter Jessica Marcy selects interesting reading from around the Web.

The Atlantic: How Much Of The Health-Care Law Will The Justices Leave Intact
Welcome to the world of the law, Supreme Court edition, where after Tuesday's remarkable hearing the five conservative justices appeared eager, or at least willing, to defend an unworkable status quo that rewards people who choose to blow off health insurance coverage knowing that they will be treated anyway if they show up ill at a hospital. … It's likely that only a small percentage of what they heard from the lawyers this week -- a concession here, a point there -- will factor into their decision. More relevant will be the interactions between the justices -- centering around Justice Kennedy, of course (Andrew Cohen, 3/28).

Mother Jones: Will The Supreme Court Create Zombie Obamacare?
The first question before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, the last of three days of oral argument about the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's health care law, was whether the individual mandate—the requirement that certain uncovered Americans purchase health insurance or pay a fine—was the "heart" of Obamacare. In other words, if that beating heart is ripped out by a majority of the nine black-robed justices, should the Affordable Care Act be allowed to stumble along or be put down with a double-barrel shot to the head? (Adam Serwer, 3/28).

The New Yorker: Justice Kennedy And The Search For A "Limiting Principle"
For fans of high principles and impassioned debates, this wasn't very satisfying. I, for one, would have enjoyed seeing Verrilli challenging some of the conservative Justices on their own grounds, and defending the individual mandate on the grounds of economic efficiency and cost-benefit analysis. Ever since the rise of the "law and economics" movement, conservatives like (Chief Justice John) Roberts have elevated efficiency concerns to a potentially decisive role. And it's patently clear that if you want to ... retain a private insurance market and make it work efficiently, providing affordable coverage to more people, you need some form of individual mandate (John Cassidy, 3/28).

Salon: The Obamacare-Abortion Myth 
Anti-choice activist Lila Rose, founder of Live Action and best known for her deceptive undercover videos intended to bring down Planned Parenthood, declared Obamacare "our generation's Roe v. Wade case." Even as liberals worry that the justices will strike down healthcare reform, conservatives like Rose are preparing to keep up the fight in case the Court upholds it. If Obamacare stands, she says activists will take to the streets, the courts, the voting booth and the halls of Congress much in the way they have fought legal abortion. Rose’s invocation of Roe as a parable for Obamacare is emblematic of conservative confusion and hypocrisy when it comes to the law (Sarah Posner, 3/28).

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