All Eyes on SCOTUS Decision Expected Later This Week?

By Gregg A. Masters, MPH

We’ve been in a quiet period since the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) accepted the series of challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, yet the buzz factor is up via the blogosphere, social media and both broadcast and cable news media outlets as some expect the decision of the court to be reported later this week.

Of interest is the letter submitted via the The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, representing major news outlets and a series of co-sponsoring entities have petitioned the Court as follows:

The Reporters Committee and media coalition are asking the Court to allow live audio and video coverage of the release of the opinion in the health care cases.  In the conclusion of the letter, we are asking that if the Court decides not to allow live audio and video, that it at least release the Court’s own audio recording of the hearing as soon as the hearing ends.

In the tea leave reading department, and via a mock if not proforma review of the outcome of the ruling David Dranove , writes on The Healthcare Blog: ‘ My Initial Reaction to the Supreme Court Decision:’

In ruling on the constitutionality of the purchase mandate, the Supreme Court has also decided the fate of the entire ACA. I thought that Justice Scalia makes a valid argument that health insurance exchanges would likely fail without the mandate, and that without exchanges, the entire ACA fails apart. His understanding of selection bias makes me believe he would have been a terrific economic theorist! But am I the only one who thinks it ironic that he appeals to economic theory here but ignored the equivalence of taxes and rebates? Justice Ginsberg also shows surprising economic depth, noting that the adverse selection “death spiral” is not a given and that exchanges would probably survive without the mandate. And when she cites my colleague Ben Handel’s paper on inertia in health insurance markets, I am truly awed. Thanks to the Supreme Court decision, we may never know if Justice Ginsberg is correct.

The impact of SCOTUS decision on accountable care and ACOs in particular is also the subject of widespread debate and active consideration. Some argue that the ‘It’s Too Late To Turn Back: A Transformation To Wellcare Has Already Begun‘, and that even if the Act we repealed in it’s entirety or effectively ‘gutted’ as a result of ruling the individual mandate as over-reach and therefore unconstitutional, the market place dynamics already in play are moving in the direction of the ‘spirit’ of the Act up to and including the pursuit of ACOs as primary market transformation vehicles.

We’re considering hosting a simulcast ‘Tweet-chat’ on, using the hashtag #ACOchat with a live radio broadcast on ‘This Week in Accountable Care.’ We’ll be somewhat on call as to the timing, fulfillment of the undertaking, but be sure to follow us on Twitter via @ACOwatch and @2healthguru as the plans for the chat will be announced via these real time tools upon the release of the decision.


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  1. Gregg,

    Why do you say that the decision will come out later this week? Do you have any special information?

    While it is possible that we may see a decision on Thursday, Monday (June 25th) is the last scheduled day for opinions to be handed down. It’s also possible that an extra day or two may be scheduled midweek next week. So, we might not see a decision until the 27th or 28th.

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