Monday, June 25, 2012


Decision Watch:  T-minus 3 days (maybe).  The conventional wisdom is that the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) will issue its ruling on the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (ACA) next Monday, June 25 (and if not then, Thursday June 29 is the next likely date).  This is the most highly anticipated ruling since Bush v. Gore in 2000 and the Court is prepared with enhanced security in case of unrest.  Justice Ginsburg indicated that the decision will highlight ‘sharp disagreements.’  Forbes is reporting that Ginsburg is likely on the losing side of this case and that rumors are that Justice Kennedy will side with those justices believing that the individual mandate is unconstitutional.  Columnist Juan Williams suggests that a ruling against the ACA will further erode public confidence in the impartiality of the Supreme Court.  If interested in a quick review of where this all stands, here is a link to a webinar I attended that provides a nice summary and here’s a very good summary analyzing possible outcomes and degree of impact of those outcomes based on the Richter scale. 

SCOTUS decision the last word?  Not likely – USA Today penned a piece about the four possible outcomes for the ACA and noted that more lawsuits and activity are likely.  The Chicago Tribune has a good Q & A on post-ruling.  Reports are also continuing the theme that the Republicans won’t do anything to re-enact the popular provisions of the law but will work to repeal any parts of the law that the Court doesn’t strike down.  One could argue that this comes with some peril given the popularity of some provisions (i.e. 2.5 million young adults now have coverage on parent’s policies, approx.. 18 million people on Medicare saw drug costs drop, provision creating a pathway to biosimilars, etc.).

Does the Individual Mandate Really Matter? According to this opinion piece, it doesn't matter or shouldn't. The authors state that only 2 in 100 Americans would be affected by the mandate so if it goes away, there won't be the horrible impact being predicted. In a separate interview, a law professor argues that striking the mandate will have limited impact.

Politics of Court decision.  The pundits and legal ‘experts’ are making a mini-industry out of predicting how the Court ruling will impact the upcoming elections.  Check out this short piece with four views published in This Week.  Depending on how they rule, the impact will be felt – here’s a piece about college students bridging medical care and poverty.

Health Reform Bracketology.  You may enjoy filling out the brackets on this site – you make a couple of choices and it generates a summary of what to expect for the future of health reform depending on the scenarios chosen.

How does the Court ruling affect me?  There is so much chatter about the politics and machinations of health reform, Congress, the Courts, etc. that it appears little time has been spent analyzing how a Court ruling will impact individuals.  One impact this summer is the rebate of $1.1 billion to policyholders.  Kaiser Foundation put out a great Q & A to talk about the impact.  They also have an article about the far-reaching consumer protections now in place because of the reform law which could be swept away by the Court – will any of the reforms impact you or someone you know?  If so, would you send me an email to let me know how?  Thanks!  

VP Myths.  The most recent ‘Crystal Ball’ takes an in depth look at the vice presidency, does some myth-busting, and presents some pretty interesting information about the #2 spot.

The Great Seal.  This week marks the 230th Anniversary of Congress adopting the Great Seal of the United States that has our motto ‘E pluribus unum’ (Out of many, One) on it.  Read more about the Seal.

Biotech Industry Concerns.  BIO, the industry association representing biotech and bioscience companies, highlighted its grave concerns over research funding given the current federal budget situation in this Boston Globe article.  The concern will amplify should sequestration occur on January 1, 2013.  Here is a very good opinion piece about how research is a good investment for American taxpayers.

Preventive Services pre-2010.  The CDC issued a press release with findings that prior to 2010, half of all Americans did not receive preventive services.  That’s a pretty shocking number!

Unemployment rate:  62%.  For young adults with disabilities, the unemployment rate is 62%.  Among people with MS it’s 60%.  There is a ‘Ticket to Work’ webinar on June 27 focusing on how to close the gap.

State Profiles of Medicaid/Medicare Enrollees:  CMS has posted a series of Medicare-Medicaid Enrollee State Profiles that examine the demographic characteristics, utilization, and spending patterns of Medicare-Medicaid enrollees in each State. They hope these profiles will provide a greater understanding of the Medicare-Medicaid enrollee population at both the State and national level for government agencies, researchers, and other partners and stakeholders. CMS also released a supplemental document that details the data methodology used for the State Profiles.

BIO honors Sen. Ted Kennedy.   On the last full day of BIO’s annual convention, Jim Greenberg, President and CEO of BIO, announced the founding of the Edward M. Kennedy Biomedical Fund to advance public policy related to healthcare and biotechnology in the US Senate.

No comments: