OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Still waiting for SCOTUS

Any decision is sure to stir up a partisan firestorm, but a new poll released Monday indicates that the firestorm might be a bit softer if the court only strikes the mandate. In a new poll from the Pew Center for People and the Press, 43 percent of Republicans said they’d be happy with a decision striking down just the mandate, while 47 percent said they’d be unhappy. Among Democrats, 56 percent said they’d be unhappy losing just the mandate — a majority, sure, but smaller than the 74 percent who said they’d be unhappy if the court strikes down the entire law.

ADVERTISEMENT
Healthwatch has more from the poll.

Scalia sounds off: In a new book, Justice Antonin Scalia has some harsh words for one of the cases cited most frequently in the healthcare challenge. Supporters of the individual mandate turned frequently to Wickard v. Filburn, a 1942 case in which the court said the federal government could force a farmer to buy his wheat on the open market, rather than growing his own. The case was wrongly decided and expanded Congress’s powers “beyond all reason,” Scalia writes in his book, according to a preview in The New York Times. The book seems to reinforce that Scalia is not a potential swing vote in the healthcare case. Read the full Times piece here.

At least it’s something: The Supreme Court didn’t release the healthcare decision on Monday, but it did release a healthcare decision. The court ruled 5-4 that drug companies do not have to pay overtime to their sales representatives. Justice Anthony Kennedy sided with the court’s conservatives to decide that drug reps are “outside salesmen” who are exempt from federal overtime laws. Healthwatch has more details.

Say what? The Wall Street Journal editorial board raised some eyebrows over the weekend with an editorial urging Republicans not to try to preserve popular parts of the Affordable Care Act, specifically the policy requiring insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions. The policy position is no big surprise, but this paragraph jumped out:

"Pre-existing conditions are tougher, because the problem while minor is genuine. If Republicans had any wit they'd consult the innovative work of the scholars Tom Miller and Jim Capretta on continuous insurance coverage and 'guaranteed renewability' while still allowing insurers to price risk. Instead many of them want to maintain ObamaCare's blanket pre-existing conditions rules, which is insane. That's the reason Democrats cooked up the individual mandate in the first place, to help mitigate the cost spiral that these rules cause."

Democrats, of course, are not the ones who first “cooked up” the individual mandate. It originated as a conservative idea, but the right has come to loathe it since its inclusion in the ACA. Read health wonk Harold Pollack at The Incidental Economist for more.


Tuesday’s agenda

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will hold a press conference with the Human Rights Campaign to discuss healthcare issues specific to gay and lesbian patients.

The Senate Caner Coalition, led by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), will hold a forum on breast cancer.

The House Ways and Means Committee’s Health panel holds a hearing on the latest report from Congress’s Medicare advisory committee, MedPAC.

In the afternoon, HHS is slated to make an “Affordable Care Act announcement.”


Reading list

Small reforms aimed at improving the healthcare system could go by the wayside if the Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act, Kaiser Health News reports.

The upcoming ruling has prompted a nationwide guessing game, Bloomberg reports.

The defense team for Jerry Sandusky is arguing that the alleged child molester suffers from histrionic personality disorder. The Wall Street Journal examines their case.

A study found that loneliness among the elderly can have serious health consequences, according to The New York Times.


State by state

New York could consider implementing a "RomneyCare"-style program if the Affordable Care Act is struck down, Gannett reports.

California has also said it will consider an individual mandate, according to the San Bernadino County Sun.

Georgia's Medicaid program faces a deficit of $400 million, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports.


Lobbying registrations

Patton Boggs / U-Systems

The Duberstein Group / Accretive Health

Strategies 360 / Chi-square Technologies

Crowell & Moring / Lancaster General Health

Jordan W. Wicker / Indiana University Health


What you might have missed on Healthwatch

Dem Heitkamp goes on offense on healthcare in North Dakota

Doctors group touts drop in medical claims errors

House to vote on bill boosting penalties for counterfeit pharmaceuticals

Obama boosts bioterrorism defenses

Report: Feds struck controversial detail from 'morning-after pill' guide 


Comments / complaints / suggestions?


Please let us know:

Sam Baker: sbaker@thehill.com / 202-628-8351

Elise Viebeck: eviebeck@thehill.com / 202-628-8523

Follow us on Twitter @hillhealthwatch