2015 will be remembered as the year the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly saved the Affordable Care Act for the second time. But there were other court rulings that also will have a lingering impact on healthcare.
In their June opinion in King v. Burwell, Chief Justice John Roberts and five other justices upheld the legality of the law's insurance premium subsidies in all states, averting an insurance market meltdown.
But healthcare providers were far less pleased with the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling in Armstrong v. Exceptional Child Center Inc., in which the court held that providers cannot sue state Medicaid agencies over low payment rates. Now it's up to the federal government to make sure the states are paying providers enough to ensure adequate patient access to care, said Nicholas Bagley, a University of Michigan law professor.
In a third significant healthcare ruling, the Supreme Court ruled in February in North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission that state licensing boards composed of active members of the professions they regulate, such as practicing doctors and dentists, are not immune from antitrust law unless they are actively supervised by their states. That may prompt state boards to shake up their memberships, or spur states to tighten their oversight of licensing boards.