Home > Health Law Reform -- General > Healthcare decision expected Thursday – Healthcare business news and research | Modern Healthcare

Healthcare decision expected Thursday – Healthcare business news and research | Modern Healthcare

The U.S. Supreme Court did not issue a ruling in the healthcare reform challenges on Monday, but the court announced that the rest of its decisions will be released Thursday.

The court did, however, grant the Federal Trade Commission permission in an unrelated case to argue a closely watched hospital-merger antitrust challenge, known as FTC v. Phoebe Putney Health Care. Arguments on that case will be heard at a future date.

In the healthcare reform law case, the justices are considering whether Congress has the authority under the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause to force nearly all Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a tax penalty. If the insurance mandate is illegal, the court will have to decide whether to negate discrete sections of the law dealing with insurance, or to strike the entire act. The court could also decide it doesn’t have jurisdiction over the question until after 2014. Finally, the justices are considering whether Congress can force states to expand the eligibility criteria for costly Medicaid programs for the poor.

Many observers in the legal and academic mainstream, including attorneys surveyed in a poll by the American Bar Association, have predicted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will pass constitutional muster with the Supreme Court based on past commerce clause precedents. However, opponents of law have surprised the skeptics and naysayers in taking their challenges to the very cusp of victory at the hands of the nation’s highest court.

Obama administration officials say they have not prepared contingency plans in the event that the law is struck down, instead preferring to charge ahead with implementation of the law.

Republican opponents have vowed to attempt to repeal whatever sections the court does not strike down. Rep. Bill Cassidy, a physician and Republican from Louisiana, said Saturday that the GOP would not “rush through a massive bill the American people don’t support” following a repeal.

See on www.modernhealthcare.com

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