Can the Supreme Court stop health reform?

The spotlight focused on recent Supreme Court oral arguments on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, aka ObamaCare) give the impression that the Supreme Court can and will stop health reform with the wave of a wand. But that impression is unwarranted, according to Lawrence Jacobs and Joel Ario, writing on the Hill’s Congress Blog. I tend to agree with them.

Their arguments:

  • Most states are busy using federal funds to set up health insurance exchanges and expand Medicaid. They’re not as keen to stop as is widely believed
  • Hospitals and health plans favor health reform to make their businesses more stable and sustainable
  • Large employers look forward to an end of cost shifting
  • There’s simply no going back to the pre-reform mess

From my daily dealings in health care, what I see is that most participants either actively support reform or are going along with it for pragmatic reasons. There is little energy for repeal or rejection by the Court. It’s mostly people outside health care who oppose ObamaCare on ideological grounds. They won’t be the ones to pick up the pieces if ObamaCare is tossed out. My prediction is that if the Court rejects ObamaCare many of its components will be back in a similar guise before long.

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