It’s Official: Supreme Court Will Decide Fate of Reform Law

We learned this week that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare if you prefer). The Court announced that it will hear an almost unprecedented five-and-half hours of oral argument on the case in March 2012, with a decision likely in late June 2012. Some of the key questions to be decided by the Court include:

  • The constitutionality of the individual mandate that American citizens carry health insurance or pay a penalty.
  • Whether the rest of the law may move forward if the individual mandate is not upheld.
  • Whether Congress can expand Medicaid to cover more people and require states to pay for their portion of Medicaid. (In New Jersey, we have a 50-50 match, so if the feds spend a dollar, the state must match that dollar. Under healthcare reform, the feds pay 100 percent until 2016 and then the state governments would have to pick up its fair share of the cost of the expansion.)
  • Whether the case is even ripe for Supreme Court review. Some say that the penalty provision of the law must go into effect first in 2015 before the Court can decide the case. On this last point, the Court did leave itself some wiggle room for a deferral of a decision if it agrees that the penalty provision must go into effect first.

I’m a healthcare professional first and foremost, but I’m also an attorney. And for the healthcare community, the individual mandate is key. If the rest of the law moves forward without the individual mandate, we will be left with many positive aspects of the law, but the largest one – providing care for insured Americans in exchange for $155 billion in cuts to our reimbursement over at 10-year period – will be stripped away. The cuts will stay, but hospitals and other healthcare providers will still be required to care for people who cannot pay.

The arguments in this case will be fascinating (if they sold tickets for this on Stubhub I’d buy one) and the subsequent decision even more so. Hopefully, we will have some clarity in just seven months. In the meantime, N.J. hospitals will continue to do what they’ve always done – provide care to all despite great challenges and uncertainty.

Written by Betsy Ryan at 14:04

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Karen Chadwick said...
I personnally would like to see government run healthcare. It would take the crass and vulgar commercialism, business oriented ethics out of medicine and nursing. Government run health works, and works very well. Healthcare professionals- the doctors, nurses, PA's, NP's are focused on their job- treating patients, not distractions, burdens, impositions and the unwanted intrusions of treating monitary budgets of hospital administrations. The ethics are medical and nursing ethics what healthcare is. Not business stragedy, we are not Macy's, not competitiveness- ' come to my hospital, my hospital is better than yours" Not useless baby grands in the front lobby.
No one single person takes millions of dollars out of the hospital budget to pay for 1 persons salary. Administrators salaries are more reflective of the economic times( reality) we are living in.Thoses salaries should be drastically cut down to the low-mid six figures and the excess should be put back into the healthcare system to make it run more efficiently. The multi million dollar salary of the CEO is absolutely ludicris, the hospital is broke before it even begins it's new fiscal year. Vital jobs are cut at the bedside where the patient is that needs to be watched and monitored. These hospitalized patients today are so sick and so complicated, the nurse to patient ratio should be going down not up- that's common sense or maybe one just has to have an intimate understanding of pathophysiology not finance to know this. Any one without a clinical- medical or nursing backround is only an outsider and has no place making decisions that effect the safe outcome of a patient's life.
I support Pres. Obama in his effort to healthcare reform, Madame Secr. Selibus' effort to the focus on primary care. I support the CMS system for not givng out more money to the hospitals. There is no need for it, when 1 top exec. is earning a multi million dollar wage. It's pure waste of the healthcare dollar. Poverty and unemployment don't breed health people. All of our modern stides in medicine are just thrown out the window becaise people can't affort healthy food,decent shelter or preventative care.
I feel so grateful to be working in a government run healthcare facility. it's like a smothering cement block has been lifted from my shoulders. I support a National Government run Healthcare System.
November 21, 2011 10:00