Week In Washington: No Expedited Hearing for ACA Case

Week in Washington is brought to you by Michael Cohen, PhD. Tune in each week to read the latest on healthcare policy and get a glimpse of what’s on the horizon.

Week in Washington: No Expedited Hearing for ACA Case

The big news this week is the Supreme Court turned down a request for an expedited hearing from the Texas v. US case. As a reminder, lower courts have currently ruled that portions of the ACA are unconstitutional. Several states and associations asked for the case to be heard this term by the Supreme Court. By denying an expedited hearing, the question of ACA constitutionality would not be decided before 2021. This also will have political ramifications as the 2020 election will occur with the case as an outstanding issue.


Other Legal News

The Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal on the issue of the contraception mandate. The Trump Administration issued a regulation that made it easier for employers and issuers to not include contraception as a mandated benefit. That rule is currently under injunction.  A ruling is expected later this spring/summer. 

Block Grant Guidance Coming

Several news outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, reported the Trump Administration was preparing to release guidance, potentially this month, on allowing states to apply for block grants. Several states have announced an interest in block grants although such a waiver would likely be immediately challenged in court.

Surprise Billing

The Hill reported that a new conservative coalition was created to block passage of “surprise” billing legislation. A bipartisan deal was reached late last year; however, it is unclear if the bill will receive a vote. If it happens, it would likely occur in late spring near the end of May.

Georgia’s 1332 Waiver

In late December, Georgia released potentially the most far reaching 1332 waiver yet conceived. The waiver calls for not only the creation of a reinsurance program but also the introduction of Copper Plans (plans with 50% AV) and the ending of a physical Exchange, among other things. Two new analyses of the program one from Brookings and one from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that the waiver could cause severe instability to Georgia’s market, potentially increase the number of uninsured,  and may be at risk for legal challenges.

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