KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Opponents See Possible Avenues To Send Health Law Back To Court

But in related news, a federal judge in Nebraska rejected a suit filed by seven states to block the measure's contraception coverage mandate, saying the states did not have standing to file it because they failed to prove they would suffer "immediate harm."

NPR: Could The Health Law End Up Back In Court? Opponents Think So
If you thought last month's Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act was the final word on the legality of the health law, think again. Some conservative scholars believe they may have discovered a flaw that could send the law back to court, or at least cause some big problems for its implementation (Rovner, 7/18).

The Associated Press: Judge Rejects Contraception Suit Filed By 7 States
Seven attorneys general trying to block the federal health care law's requirement for contraception coverage saw their lawsuit dismissed Tuesday by a federal judge who said they didn't have standing to file it. U.S. District Court Judge Warren K. Urbom ruled that the states failed to prove they would suffer immediate harm once that part of the law is enacted. The Nebraska federal judge also noted that President Barack Obama's administration has agreed to work with religious groups to try to address their concerns (Schulte, 7/17).

Reuters: Nebraska Judge Dismisses States' Suit Over Contraception Mandate
A Nebraska federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit brought by seven states against the Obama administration's new healthcare policy that requires employers to provide birth-control coverage to employees. U.S. District Judge Warren Urbom concluded that the plaintiffs did not face immediate harm and therefore could not sue to block the part of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 that requires employers to include free birth control in their healthcare programs (Baynes, 7/17).

Meanwhile, some experts offer their views of what the future holds for the overhaul and its implementation.

National Journal:  Health Reform Is Law Now, But It Will Change, Says Former CMS Head
The Affordable Care Act is now law and implementation will move forward, but the law is almost certain to change, a former administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services told an audience of health policy experts on Tuesday.  Mark McClellan, who led CMS during the George W. Bush administration, said that the details of the Supreme Court ruling and political realities mean that the future will bring changes to its underlying structure.

CQ Healthbeat: AHIP's Ignagni Suggests Health Care Law Won't Work
The health care law won't work unless it is changed or delayed, America's Health Insurance Plans President Karen Ignagni strongly suggested Tuesday.  There’s still time to make those changes before health insurance exchanges begin offering coverage under the law starting next fall, Ignagni added in remarks at a health policy forum.  Ignagni said the combination of the law’s new insurance industry fees, weak penalties levied on those not buying coverage, rating bands and an essential benefits standard requiring much more generous coverage in the individual market will make coverage unaffordable to the young. She suggested that the essential benefits minimums might have to be phased in over a period of time (Reichard, 7/17).

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