The American Hospital Association and five other organizations representing hospitals have asked the Supreme Court to resolve the constitutionality of the healthcare reform law, and soon.
Organizations want high court to tackle reform law constitutionality
In a friend-of-the-court brief filed Thursday (PDF), the associations argue that the uncertainty surrounding the law is bogging down progress on even its most noncontroversial elements, such as demonstration projects testing new delivery and payment models. They also argue that striking down the law would “maintain an unacceptable status quo” of providers, consumers and taxpayers shouldering the burden of providing healthcare to the uninsured.
Joining the AHA in the brief are the Association of American Medical Colleges, Catholic Health Association, Federation of American Hospitals, National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems and the National Association of Children's Hospitals. Their members, they argue, are spending substantial resources to prepare for the law's payments and penalties for hospital-acquired conditions and readmissions. They also note that officials in many states are waiting to see what the Supreme Court decides before establishing the health insurance exchanges established under the law by Jan. 1, 2014.
The hospital groups filed the brief in support of the Obama administration's request for the court to review an August ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta that Congress overstepped its constitutional authority by requiring that individuals buy health insurance. The 6th Circuit court in Cincinnati found the mandate to be constitutional. The 4th Circuit court in Richmond, Va., dismissed two separate challenges without ruling on the substance of the law.
The Supreme Court is expected to decide in November whether to take the case and could rule by the end of the current session this summer.
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