By Clive Riddle, June 14, 2012
At times it may feel like the pending Supreme Court decision regarding the Affordable Care Act may play out like Waiting for Godot, but exercise some patience for The Decision on The Act that hopes to encourage exercise for patients, among a bazillion other things. Decision-Day will come soon enough. Too soon, for some stakeholders on one side of the fence or the other, undoubtedly.
While you’re waiting, it’s interesting, although not entirely instructive, to review the past SCOTUS cases involving various aspects of health care and health insurance law. FindLaw provides a summary of these cases, with links to each case. A quick listing of these 15 cases is available in a healthsprocket list: Historical Supreme Court Health Law Related Cases. This accumulation of cases will be bookended by Roe v Wade in 1974, and the pending 2012 Affordable Care Act decision. In between are less-distinguished cases all being decided upon during the first decade of this century. These other cases include: two involving health plans (Aetna and United’s PacifiCare) stemming from the managed care backlash era; three abortion related cases (in addition to Roe v Wade); two Medicaid cases (regarding provider payments and eligibility); prescription solicitation; medical device safety claims; employer liability for mental anguish due to potential future work-related health claims; due process involving mental illness; punishment of mentally disabled criminals; physician-assisted suicide; and medical marijuana.
You can consider the private marketplace response, back when implementation of the Act was still pending, and now when The Decision is pending. Back in the spring of 2010, “early adopter” health plans extended coverage provisions well before their required effective date. Now that the entire Act may be in jeopardy, “post-adopter” health plans have indicated they will continue to provide a number of coverage provisions in the event the Act is overturned.
You can also produce your own History Channel version of when we went through all of this before, and review the literature on the public and stakeholder controversy surrounding adoption of Medicare into law in 1965. Déjà vu – perhaps everything old is new again? One might wonder if and how the current SCOTUS might have weighed in on that.
Or you could read through a litany of papers on the implications, permutations, considerations and expectations for The Decision. RAND just released a good study on How Would Eliminating the Individual Mandate Affect Health Coverage and Premium Costs? Here’s some recent typical articles: Employers' 'plan B' if health reform is axed (CNNMoney, June 14, 2012); Health spending likely to keep rising with or without Obama's plan (Los Angeles Times, June 13, 2012); Undoing health law could have messy ripple effects (Associated Press, June 11, 2012)
Still don’t’ know what to do with idle time while impatiently waiting for SCOTUS? You can always use this healthsprocket list, offering five things you can do while waiting for the Supreme Court Affordable Care Act decision.