Nearly 300 members of the Nashville Health Care Council and Leadership Health Care heard from a diverse panel yesterday about the future potential implications of the U.S. Supreme Court’s pending decision on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
“The highly anticipated Supreme Court decision on health reform is much more than a legal opinion, it’s a defining event in the health care marketplace,” said panel moderator Dick Cowart, chairman, Health Law & Public Policy Department, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz. “These historic proceedings have the potential to change the way health care companies do business.”
The Court will hear arguments on the Affordable Care Act from March 26-28, just over two years after the bill’s passage into law. The Act made sweeping changes to the nation’s health care system, including individual and employer insurance provisions, payer requirements around preexisting conditions, age thresholds and preventative care, along with Medicaid expansion.
The panel, Supreme Decision: The High Court on the Affordable Care Act, discussed views on how the Court’s decision could impact health care providers, payers and consumers. Participants included Lyle Denniston, journalist and dean emeritus of the U.S. Supreme Court Press Corps; Paul Heldman, senior health policy analyst, Potomac Research Group;Tony Hullender, senior vice president and general counsel, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee; and Tevi Troy, senior fellow, Hudson Institute, and former Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Court has established an unprecedented six hours for the oral arguments. During the March proceedings, the Court will evaluate four issues relating to the law, including: 1) the “individual mandate,” or requirement that every American citizen purchase health insurance; 2) “severability,” whether the overall health care law can stand even if the individual mandate provision doesn’t; 3) the law’s new Medicaid requirements for states and 4) the Anti-Injunction Act, whether it’s appropriate for courts to currently hear challenges to the law given that its mandates do not take effect until 2014.