The Supreme Court's conservative justices said Wednesday they are prepared to strike down President Obama’s healthcare law entirely.
Picking up where they left off Tuesday, the conservatives said they thought a decision striking down the law's controversial individual mandate to purchase health insurance means the whole statute should fall with it.
The court’s conservatives sounded as though they had determined for themselves that the 2,700-page measure must be declared unconstitutional.
"One way or another, Congress will have to revisit it in toto," said Justice Antonin Scalia.
The Louisiana State Medical Society was the first to speak in opposition at the AMA House of Delegates.
Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) and adopt meaningful medical liability reform. The Protecting Access to Healthcare Act (H.R. 5) passed by a vote of 223-181, with 7 democrats joining their republican colleagues in voting in favor of the bill. Ten republicans joined the democrats in voting against the measure, 4 members voted “present” and 23 did not vote. Click here to see how your representative voted.
During the debate on the bill, several amendments were considered. Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) and Pete Sessions (R-TX) offered an amendment that would address the crisis in access to emergency care by extending liability coverage to on-call and emergency room physicians under the Federal Tort Claims Act. This amendment passed by voice vote. In addition, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) and Jim Matheson (D-UT) offered an amendment to grant limited civil liability protections to health professionals that volunteer at federal declared disaster sites, which passed by a vote of 251-157. Twenty-seven democrats joined the republicans in voting in favor of the amendment. Four republicans joined 153 democrats in opposing the amendment, one member voted “present” and 22 did not vote. To see how your representative voted on this amendment, click here.
House Passes 'Preserving Access to Healthcare Act'
Early this afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5, the “Preserving Access to Healthcare Act” by a vote of to 223 to 181. This legislation combines two AMA-supported bills: the “Medicare Decisions Accountability Act” (H.R. 452), and the “Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act” (also H.R. 5). Seven Democrats voted yes while 10 Republicans voted no and 4 Republicans voted present.
H.R. 452, originally introduced by Rep. Phil Roe, MD (R-Tenn.), would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). This legislation was combined in the Rules Committee with the HEALTH Act, which provided savings that are more than sufficient to offset the estimated $3.1 billion cost of repealing the IPAB. The HEALTH Act, originally introduced by Rep. Phil Gingrey, MD (R-Ga.), contains a wide range of AMA-supported medical liability reforms, including a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages. The version of the HEALTH Act that was included in the combined bill did not include provisions that would permit the introduction of evidence of income from collateral sources at trial, reflecting modifications made by the House Judiciary Committee.
H.R. 5 is not likely to be considered by the Senate in its current form.
During the debate, several additional amendments of interest to physicians were also approved:
An amendment offered by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), which would restore the application of antitrust laws to the business of health insurance by amending the McCarran-Ferguson Act, was accepted by voice vote.
Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Penn.) offered an amendment that would address the crisis in access to emergency care by extending liability coverage to on-call and emergency room physicians under the Federal Tort Claims Act, which was accepted by voice vote.
An amendment offered by Reps. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah) would grant limited civil liability protection to health professionals that volunteer at federally declared disaster sites, and was accepted by a vote of 251 to 157.
Politicos Jockey for Seats at Supreme Court Hearing on Health Care Law
For many in New Orleans it's college basketball's Final Four. But in Washington, D.C., the hottest ticket in town seems to be for U.S. Supreme Court arguments next week in a challenge to the national health care law.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, the three days of scheduled arguments over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which President Barack Obama signed into law two years ago this Friday, are sending Beltway types into a frenzy.
Some have hit up high court justices for one of about 400 seats inside the courtroom. Others are contemplating camping out overnight.
The challenge is over whether the law's demand that most people maintain health insurance or pay a fee is unconstitutional.
Bill including provision to repeal IPAB recently passed by House Energy and Commerce Committee
The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) is a 15-member United States government agency created in 2010 by various sections of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). It is charged with achieving savings in the Medicare program and can make recommendations independent of Congress. Congress is permitted to overrule decisions made by the IPAB but only after the fact. Most physicians feel the existing system of Medicare payment changes requiring an act of Congress is a better way to allow open debate on any proposed cuts in services or physician reimbursement. Recently, the LSMS joined other national and state medical associations in urging the House Energy and Commerce Committee to pass legislation which included repeal of the IPAB. The bill did pass through the committee. The AMA’s statement on passage of the bill can be found here.
White House provides answers on PPACA
Do you agree with the President’s view on how his plan for national health system reform will change America? Check the White House’s answers to frequently asked questions about PPACA here.
How physicians are going to be paid is about to change
In order to honor its commitment to provide physicians with expert resources on emerging payment models, the American Medical Association (AMA) today released a new how-to manual to help physicians evaluate, negotiate, and manage budget-based payment systems that are becoming alternatives to the predominant fee-for-service model for reimbursing physicians. Typical budget-based payment systems include payment bundling, pay-for-performance, withholds and risk pools, capitation and shared savings. Find a link to the manual here.
Health Insurance Exchanges
Many states, including Louisiana, take a wait and see approach when it comes to creating state health insurance exchanges. See the article in the New York Times.
State rejection won’t stop Health Insurance Exchanges
Despite Governor Jindal’s repeated opposition to the Obama administration’s healthcare reform law, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says there’s still time for Louisiana to work with the federal agency to establish an exchange. Read the article in Louisiana Medical News.
The Physicians Foundation Releases “A Roadmap for Physicians to Health Care Reform" The Physicians Foundation released a report for private practice physicians, which examines the provisions of the ACA and how these legislative changes will directly impact their practice of medicine. The report, titled “A Roadmap for Physicians to Health Care Reform,” provides physicians with an in-depth perspective on the issues – both societal and economic – that are influencing current reform efforts, as well as insight into the 112th Congress and their possible “reform of the reform.” It also focuses on the major legislative changes that hold the most significance to the daily practice of medicine, such as changes in payment systems, quality reporting, shared savings programs, workforce and rural initiatives, and select aspects of the changes reshaping the private health insurance market.