KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

What Will Be At Stake When The Supreme Court Offers A Decision?

In the wake of the justices' announcement that they will hear the health law challenge, media outlets offer analyses of the key issues and political stakes that will be part of the mix.  

Politico: Barack Obama's Supreme Court Health Care Gamble
President Barack Obama is so confident of the constitutionality of his signature Affordable Care Act — and so happy to cast Mitt Romney as his human shield against its Republican critics— that he did little to stop the Supreme Court from fast-tracking a ruling on the law now likely to come in the middle of the 2012 campaign. Yet for all the administration's public optimism, Obama's eagerness for the court to render a final judgment on the health care law represents a roll of the dice that could result in a decision that might roil an already agitated electorate in unpredictable ways, and quite possibly drag Obama back into the most divisive battle of his presidency (Thrush, 11/15).

The New York Times: Whatever Court Rules, Major Changes In Health Care Likely To Last
No matter what the Supreme Court decides about the constitutionality of the federal law adopted last year, health care in America has changed in ways that will not be easily undone. Provisions already put in place, like tougher oversight of health insurers, the expansion of coverage to one million young adults and more protections for workers with pre-existing conditions are already well cemented and popular. And a combination of the law and economic pressures has forced major institutions to wrestle with the relentless rise in health care costs (Abelson, Harris and Pear, 11/14).

NPR: Supreme Court Wades Into Presidential Politics Once Again
With the high court's announcement Monday that it would decide on the constitutionality of the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, we are assured of a decision coming smack dab in the middle of the 2012 general election campaign (James, 11/14).

The Fiscal Times: The Super Committee: Why Failure Is the Best Option 
While no one is actively campaigning to see the 12-member committee miss its Nov. 23 deadline for coming up with a $1.2 trillion deficit-reduction plan, that outcome will be silently welcomed by congressional partisans on both the Left and Right. ... For Democrats struggling to hold on to the Senate and hopeful of reclaiming the House, cutting entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security will weaken their appeal to the key senior constituency ahead of next year's campaign (Goozner, 11/15). 

Modern Healthcare: Fans, Critics Pleased Court Will Tackle Reform Law
In contrast to the sharp rhetoric surrounding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act through its nearly three-year path from presidential proposal through implementation, all sides on Monday agreed that they were happy the Supreme Court will take up the appeal of the law (Carlson, 11/14).

CQ HealthBeat: Supreme Court Leaves The Doors Open With Health Care Lawsuit Order
With its decision Monday to hear arguments on the constitutionality of the health care overhaul, the U.S. Supreme Court swung open the door to a range of outcomes, any of which could have an enormous impact on federal policy — whether or not the law is left intact. Whatever the landmark decision by the high court, it will come by June 2012, with Congress still in session, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) deep into implementing the law and states finishing the establishment of the health insurance exchanges that are key to bringing health insurance coverage to millions of Americans (Norman, 11/14).

The Hill: Dems Fear Obama Will Lose The Case
Democrats on Capitol Hill are worried that the Supreme Court will rule against President Obama's health care reform law. Over the last couple weeks, congressional Democrats have told The Hill that the law faces danger in the hands of the Supreme Court, which The New York Times editorial page recently labeled the most conservative high court since the 1950s. While the lawmakers are not second-guessing the administration's legal strategy, some are clearly bracing for defeat (Pecquet, 11/14).

Roll Call: GOP Sees Opening In Health Care Case
Congressional Republicans are moving to re-establish health care as a political weapon against Democrats, as the Supreme Court prepares to consider President Barack Obama's reform law on the cusp of the 2012 elections. The court is expected to hear arguments in March regarding the constitutionality of the law's federal mandate to purchase health insurance, and the justices could reach a decision by June. And while Democrats appeared inclined to wait patiently for the court's decision, top House and Senate Republicans on Monday were already considering filing briefs and exploring other avenues to influence what they suspect will be the re-emergence of health care as a major political issue (Drucker and Sanchez, 11/15).

Politico Pro: Sebelius: Ruling Could Get States Moving
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is welcoming the Supreme Court's decision to hear the lawsuits challenging the health care reform law, saying a quick and favorable ruling could encourage reluctant states to move ahead on implementation. "We will have a decision midway though 2012, which means that states that are sitting, perhaps, on the sidelines saying, 'We really want to know what happens next' [with the litigation] will fully engage," Sebelius told reporters during a Monday press conference (Feder, 11/14).

The Associated Press/Seattle Times: Justices Unlikely To Have Last Word On Health Care
The weight of a Supreme Court decision isn't likely to settle the contentious debate over health care in America, a nation disdainful of big government and historically unable to guarantee affordable basic coverage to all its citizens. The court announced Monday it will take up the constitutional challenge to President Barack Obama's landmark health care law, with a decision expected next summer in the thick of the presidential election. But even if the law is upheld, Republican congressional leaders say they'll keep crusading for its repeal (Alonso-Zaldivar, 11/15).

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