After 11 years of battling the ACA, is the health law here to stay?


Media are anticipating the next phase of the controversial health law. While legal and legislative efforts to overturn the health law outright will likely diminish, big fights are still expected over future changes or specific aspects of the current program.

Politico: Obamacare now seems safe. The battle for his future continues.

For once, Democrats and Republicans are delivering the same message on Obamacare: The landmark health care law is here to stay. But so have partisan battles over the law’s future, even after the last shreds of the GOP’s decade-long effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act appeared to be demolished by the 7- 2 of the Supreme Court on Thursday upholding the law for the third time. (Luthi, 06/17)

The New York Times: Obamacare is here to stay. Get ready for new healthcare battles

The waning repeal effort gave Democrats their first chance in a decade to push a new campaign: moving the country toward universal health coverage. This appears to be the end of a period when Democrats played constant defense, battling legislative and legal challenges. Their recent expansion of health insurance subsidies has received broad support within the party. The stimulus package passed by Democrats in January spent $34 billion to make coverage more affordable for nearly all Americans who buy their own health plans. This change, however, was temporary and is currently set to expire at the end of 2022. (Sanger-Katz and Kliff, 6/17)

The Atlantic: The Affordable Care Act’s Next Big Challenge

The Supreme Court’s rejection of the latest effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act does not mark the end of litigation over the law’s constitutionality. The next big case has already been filed, and it involves a clash between an arcane constitutional provision and the law’s guarantee of zero-dollar coverage for preventative services. The stakes will be lower this time, the whole law is not threatened. But they are still significant. If the plaintiffs win, insurers could force their customers to pay out of pocket for contraception, breastfeeding supplies and support, and drugs to prevent HIV infection. They might even start charging people for COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters. This time, opponents of the law have a good chance of succeeding. (Bagley, 6/17)

NBC News: What now? Congress eyes new era of health care policy after Obamacare survival

Congressional lawmakers have wondered what the new era of federal health care policy will look like after the Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed the latest existential challenge to Obamacare. Democrats said the next step was to build on the sprawling 2010 law, which touched on nearly every aspect of the health care system, by pushing policies to cut costs. (Kapur, 06/17)

AP: The GOP needs a new health care goal; ‘Obamacare’ survives again

Along with the law’s gradual but decisive public acceptance, court rulings and legislative defeats underscore that the law, passed in 2010 despite overwhelming GOP opposition, is likely safe. And it highlights a remarkable progression from the measure of political accountability that cost House Democrats control just months after it was signed into law to a widely accepted foundation of the medical system, providing care what the government says be more than 30 million people. “The Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land,” President Joe Biden said, using the law’s more formal name, after the court ruled that Texas and other GOP-led states do not had no right to sue in federal court. (Fram, 06/18)

Axios: Supreme Court’s ACA ruling saves Republicans from themselves

The Supreme Court saved the health care system from implosion on Thursday by rejecting a Republican challenge to the Affordable Care Act. But it also saved the GOP itself from another round of intraparty mayhem. Most GOP lawmakers admit privately (and some will even say publicly) that they don’t want to deal with health care anymore. The issue is generally not good for them with voters — as they learned the hard way after failing to repeal the ACA in 2017. (Treene, Owens and Mucha, 6/17)

The Washington Post: As High Court upholds Obamacare, both sides rush to recalibrate

A conservative Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act could mark the end of a bitter 11-year campaign to get rid of the law, as both sides immediately began scrambling to recalibrate their strategies with the sense that the political reality of health care has been immutably altered. Some Republicans conceded Thursday that after a decade of repeal votes, political campaigns and legal challenges, their quest to strike down the entire law is likely dead. Faced with a 7-2 ruling that marked the third time the High Court upheld the law, some members of the GOP in Congress suggested they would instead start plotting legislatively to slash parts of it. (Goldstein, Viser and DeBonis, 6/17)

As well –

The Wall Street Journal: Why is the ACA still controversial 11 years after the health care law known as Obamacare was passed?

Republicans have argued that expanding the law’s government-backed coverage is too costly. Indeed, some Republican-led states, including Texas and Florida, have refused to expand their Medicaid programs under the ACA. They also objected to some of the ACA’s prescriptive rules, saying consumers should have more freedom to choose the types of plans they want, even if those are limited or don’t cover certain things. Some have also opposed provisions in the law that address reproductive issues, including a mandate that employer plans generally cover contraception. (Matthew, 6/17)

The Wall Street Journal: The Affordable Care Act: A Brief History

Since its passage in 2010, the Affordable Care Act has grown to provide health coverage to more than 31 million people when its Medicaid expansion is included, and survived three Supreme Court challenges. Here is an overview of notable changes the law has undergone over the years. (Armor, 6/17)

Modern Healthcare: ACA Supreme Court Ruling Could Accelerate Biosimilar Development

The Supreme Court’s vote in favor of keeping the Affordable Care Act on Thursday was met with applause from payers and providers, as well as the biosimilar drug development industry. While opponents of the ACA have widely criticized the expansion of the insurance law and mandates around coverage, overturning the law would have dismantled the federal framework for reviewing and approving biosimilars and litigation guidelines that underpin the industry, said Meghan Rose Smith, executive director of biosimilars. Forum, a trade group that applauded the Supreme Court’s decision. In the United States, biosimilars offer a lower-cost alternative to some 30 brand-name biologics currently on the market. (Tepper, 6/17)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news outlets. Sign up for an email subscription.


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