Week ahead: Ruling looms in O-Care subsidy challenge

This week promises a slew of healthcare news between the courts and Capitol Hill.

An ObamaCare court ruling could dominate the week if plaintiffs succeed in convincing a judge that the Affordable Care Act does not allow federally run insurance exchanges to distribute premium subsidies.

The case, Halbig v. Burwell, has the potential to blow a hole in the healthcare law’s coverage scheme and deal a serious loss to the Obama administration, though few legal experts believe it will succeed.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals could issue its ruling as early as Tuesday, and conservatives are hoping that an eventual win will prevent the law from becoming further entrenched.

On Capitol Hill, the House will move forward with Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) resolution to sue the White House for delaying ObamaCare’s employer mandate.

The Rules Committee is scheduled to meet Wednesday to consider the measure, paving the way for a floor vote later this month.

On the Senate side, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is expected to move ahead with Democrats’ bill reversing the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling.

Legislation from Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) would clarify that corporations cannot claim religious exemptions to federal healthcare coverage mandates.

Reid is expected to file cloture on a motion to proceed to the bill on Monday, setting up the first procedural vote on the measure for Wednesday. It is unclear whether Dems have the 60 votes necessary to approve the legislation.

Both sides of Capitol Hill will continue jockeying over President Obama’s supplemental funding request for the thousands of migrant children arriving at the border. Some of the money would go to the Department of Health and Human Services, but Boehner says he will not move the bill unless it includes reforms speeding up the deportation process for some migrants.

Those reforms are being crafted by groups of lawmakers over some opposition from Democrats.

Lawmakers will spend the rest of the week in a host of healthcare hearings.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will lead off a busy week with a markup of five public health bills starting Monday.

The panel will also hold three subcommittee hearings later in the week. On Wednesday, the Health subcommittee will look at ObamaCare’s eligibility systems. Also on Wednesday, the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee will hear about recent safety breaches at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from Director Thomas Frieden.

Finally, on Thursday, the Communications and Health subcommittees will hold a joint hearing on leveraging technology to cure disease.

In the Senate, the Finance Committee will start the week on Tuesday with a hearing on chronic illness. The same day, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider a bill to end restrictions on abortion rights.

On Thursday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions subcommittee on Primary Health will hold a hearing on preventable deaths.

 

Recent stories:

Boehner suit targets ObamaCare delay: http://bit.ly/1jyVWnG

Senate Dems unveil bill to reverse Hobby Lobby ruling: http://bit.ly/1oObbI3

Obama wants $3.7B for border: http://bit.ly/1qRq8uJ

Uninsured rate sinks to record low: http://bit.ly/1q2quRp

CDC discovers botched shipment with bird flu: http://bit.ly/TXG2Xw

Vials of smallpox found in government lab: http://bit.ly/1jyWhqd