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April 2, 2012
In This Issue
Supremely Historic Week
What Does All of This Mean for Agents and Brokers?
Oh, to Be a Fly on the Wall in That Chamber
Oh Yeah, the House Passed a Budget Too
HHS Hands out More CO-OP Money
What We’re Reading
Calendar
April 5: Deadline for awards submissions
April 9: New Guidance on Summary Plan Benefits and Other Recent Regulations Part II
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Supremely Historic Week

The United States Supreme Court spent an unprecedented six hours over three days last week hearing oral arguments in the constitutional challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that has been mounted by 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). While conventional wisdom says that oral arguments rarely influence decisions at the Supreme Court level, conventional wisdom also said that the justices would almost certainly uphold the health reform law and that the oral arguments would be pro forma and non dramatic. What went on in the courtroom last week turned conventional wisdom on its head. While there are certainly no guarantees as to what the justices will do, and we probably won't know what their decision is before mid-June at the earliest, it would seem that at least part of PPACA may be in serious danger.  Read More

What Does All of This Mean for Agents and Brokers?

Analysis of what happened with the case is interesting, but what many brokers are wondering is what does all of this mean to me? NAHU national Legislative Council member Dave Mordo from New Jersey offers this take on the case. With all the oral arguments done and with a decision now pending until late June or early July regardless of what that decision is, Congress will once again have to deal with this. Even that notion comes with many possible endings, some perhaps good, some not so good. Read More

Oh, to Be a Fly on the Wall in That Chamber

While health policy nerds countrywide are rehashing all the points made during the oral arguments and impatiently tapping their fingers waiting for a court ruling not expected till at least June, there are at least nine people who know the outcome of the health reform law already. On Friday, our nine Supreme Court justices met in a secret, tradition-filled meeting to cast their votes on the constitutionality of PPACA. Robert Barnes of the Washington Post wrote an excellent report of what goes on in these closed-door sessions, which reportedly begin with a group handshake. Read More

Oh Yeah, the House Passed a Budget Too

On Thursday, March 29, the House of Representatives voted to approve a federal budget proposal for fiscal year 2013. The measure passed on partisan lines 228-191, with 10 Republicans voting with all Democrats in opposition. Just like last year, the House budget plan, which was largely authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), contains significant health program reforms. These include allowing for public subsidies of private health plan premiums in competition with traditional Medicare and turning Medicaid into a block-grant plan for states, rather than a federal entitlement spending program.  Read More

HHS Hands out More CO-OP Money

Unlike the first distribution of PPACA grants to fund the development of healthcare consumer operated and oriented (CO-OP) plans last month, last week's distribution of funds to entities in three states attracted minimal attention. Nonetheless, while everyone was listening to the Supreme Court justices, HHS quietly concluded the first round of CO-OP establishment grants this week, awarding funds to organizations in Maine, Oregon and South Carolina. Read More

What We’re Reading
From the Supreme Court to parrots to European healthcare, here's what we find fascinating this week. Read More
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