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Taking the Long View: Story Ideas After the Supreme Court's Health Reform Decision

Thursday, July 19, 2012

It’s been said that the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will keep legions of lawyers employed for years to come. The same could be said for health reporters, political writers, bloggers, editorialists, talk show bookers, TV news producers and documentary makers.

Rather than dousing controversy about the health reform law, the 5-4 decision has sparked more controversy. The justices settled some questions about the ACA (e.g. the “penalty fee” is a tax for constitutionality purposes), but dozens of questions remain – which media audiences will want answered.

For instance: We know that states can opt in or opt out of the law’s Medicaid expansion. But what are the downstream consequences of one choice vs. the other? Could safety net hospitals suffer? What about patients’ access to care? In states that opt out, will more money flow to education and other needs?

A state can run its own exchange or have the federal government do it. If the feds step in, will we see head-butting between federal and state agencies? Or will the states work in partnership with the federally-run exchanges?

What effect could the Supreme Court decision have on pharmaceutical companies, medical device makers, nursing homes, home care agencies?

To address these questions and more, the Alliance for Health Reform and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation sponsored a July 19 briefing for reporters. Panelists were: Alan Weil, executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy; Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies for the Cato Institute; Marilyn Werber Serafini, Robin Toner Distinguished Fellow at Kaiser Health News; and John Reichard, editor of CQ Healthbeat. John Lumpkin, MD, of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Ed Howard of the Alliance moderated.


 Ed Howard, Alliance for Health Reform, Moderator
 John Lumpkin, MD, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Moderator
 Alan Weil, National Academy for State Health Policy, Speaker
 Michael Cannon, Cato Institute, Speaker
 Marilyn Werber Serafini, Kaiser Health News, Speaker
 John Reichard, CQ Healthbeat, Speaker
(Click on the camera icon to see a video of the speaker's presentation.)

Transcript, Event Summary and/or Webcast and Podcast

Transcript: Briefing Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 7/19/2012
Full Webcast/Podcast: Story Ideas: Impact of the Supreme Court Decision on Health Reform

The full webcast and podcast for this briefing, as well as videos of individual speakers' presentations, are provided by Kaiser Family Foundation.

Offsite Materials (briefing documents saved on other websites)

After the Ruling: A Consumer's Guide, Kaiser Health News, 6/28/2012
- Practical answer to consumer questions about health reform after the Supreme Court decision.
How each state will approach health care act, USA Today, 7/12/2012
- A look at how each state is implementing the Affordable Care Act, or not, with an emphasis on the creation of a state exchange and Medicaid expansion.
Decision Time For States On The Affordable Care Act, Health Affairs blog, 7/2/2012
- Notes that states have 10 categories of work necessary to fully implement the Affordable Care Act -- not just establishment of exchanges and expansion of Medicaid.
Ruling Puts Pressure on States to Act, Kaiser Health News, 6/28/2012
- Governors will be under strong pressure to expand Medicaid as called for in the Affordable Care Act, taking the federal money that would pay for coverage for millions of low-income people.
Health Law Deadlines Under Pressure, Kaiser Health News, 6/30/2012
- Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the health law, debate has shifted to whether deadlines key to the law's goal of expanding coverage to tens of millions of Americans will be pushed back.
IPAB, Obamacare's Super-Legislature, National Review Online, 6/15/2012
- "The individual mandate isn't Obamacare's only unconstitutional provision, or even its most unconstitutional provision. That distinction belongs to the Independent Payment Advisory Board...whose members are more powerful than members of Congress."
Taxation Without Representation: The Illegal IRS Rule to Expand Tax Credits under the PPACA , Case Western Reserve Research Paper Series in Legal Studies, 7/1/2012
- "A final Internal Revenue Service rule ...(extends) eligibility for tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies to those who purchase qualifying insurance plans in federally run Exchanges. (But) the PPACA precludes the IRS from (doing so)."
Could The Health Law End Up Back In Court? Opponents Think So, NPR, 7/18/2012
- "Some conservative scholars believe they may have discovered a flaw that could send the (health reform) law back to court, or at least cause some big problems for its implementation."
Yes, the Federal Exchange Can Offer Premium Tax Credits, Health Reform Watch blog, 7/11/2012
- "The latest kerfuffle involves the discovery by critics of the ACA of an ACA drafting error that would seem to deprive millions of uninsured Americans of tax credits to purchase health insurance...."
Health law ruling reveals governors' split, USA Today, 7/9/2012
- "The Supreme Court's decision upholding President Obama's health care law but potentially limiting its scope has created a stark political divide among the nation's governors."
Who could fall between the cracks?, Washington Post, 7/3/2012
- A graphic illustrating who would who would fail to gain coverage if a state opts out of the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion.


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