Health Reform Decision Expected This Month
Today is the first day of June. With Memorial Day weekend just behind us, our eyes are to the future, curious and excited about what the coming summer has in store. Along with this new season comes a fresh wave of anticipation for the Supreme Court’s final decision on the constitutionality of the 2010 health reform law.
As we tweeted earlier this week, that decision is expected by the end of this month. These things are always unpredictable, but the justices’ summer travel schedules and their quick pace in recent years suggest that they will make their way through the remaining 17 cases by June 25, the last day the Court is in session. It’s gotten politicians, analysts, interest groups and others interested in what the outcome and its effects will be.
Yesterday, wrote Lisa Mascaro of the Los Angeles Times, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-California) predicted that the law would be upheld by a 6-3 vote. Most members of Congress have been reluctant to guess at the decision, but Pelosi professed her belief that those who wrote the bill were mindful of the Constitution. “I know the Constitution – this bill is ironclad,” Mascaro quotes her as saying.
Health providers, medical device and drug makers, and health insurance companies hope that is the case. Despite the new requirements that the law places on insurers – for example, eliminating lifetime caps on insurance claims, spending at least 80% of premiums on medical expenses, and setting in place a set of mandatory, essential benefits – repealing the law would probably send these companies’ stock prices down because of the uncertainty that comes with change, according to an article by Russ Britt of MarketWatch.
Even if only the individual mandate is eliminated, businesses will have to revise their plans and projections in response, and stock prices may still be affected. Since companies have been preparing for the law’s implementation since it was passed, upholding the law in its entirety is likely to make stocks go up.
For more information, see other recent coverage of this topic:
- May 24, 2012: Most Individual Health Plans Sold Today Wouldn’t Pass Requirements of Health Law
- March 29, 2012: Supreme Court Wraps Up Three Days of Health Reform Arguments
- Jan. 30, 2012: Can Health Reform Survive without the Individual Mandate? HHS Says Yes
- Nov. 4, 2011: Insurers Worried about Potential Repeal of Individual Mandate