July 9: The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The hearing comes almost seven months to the day after U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor said that the entire law was invalidated by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which zeroed-out the individual mandate penalty. Two of the three judges on the 5th Circuit panel were appointed by Republican presidents—one by George W. Bush, the other by Donald Trump. The court rejected a plea last week from the plaintiff GOP state attorneys general to delay the hearing so they could have more time to file a supplemental brief on whether the U.S. House of Representatives and the Democratic states that are defending the landmark healthcare law have standing to intervene in the case. Modern Healthcare reporter Shelby Livingston will be in New Orleans to provide coverage from inside and outside of the courtroom.
July 10: A House Veterans’ Affairs subcommittee will delve into the “Cost of Caring” for the nation’s vets. The hearing comes a month after the Veterans Affairs Department officially rolled out its Community Care Program. Mandated by the VA Mission Act, the program creates more opportunities for veterans to access care at civilian hospitals. There have been concerns, however, that the VA has yet to issue rules establishing competency standards and requirements for provision of care by non-VA providers in clinical areas where the VA has developed special expertise.
July 10: During its July open meeting, the Federal Communications Commission will discuss a proposal to create a Connected Care Pilot program. Unveiled in July 2018, the idea is to allocate money from the Universal Service Fund to encourage telehealth and virtual healthcare services for low-income people.