Viewpoints: Questions Of Partisanship And Timing Could Complicate Supreme Court's Decision On Health Law

The New York Times: Health Reform And The Supreme Court
The Supreme Court's decision to review the constitutionality of health care reform means it will be issuing a ruling in the middle of the 2012 presidential campaign. This can be a highly politicized court, and, for the public good and its own credibility, it must resist that impulse (11/14).

Los Angeles Times: Will Partisanship Shape The Health Care Ruling?
Not surprisingly, the Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide the constitutionality of the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform package passed in 2010. Under current constitutional law, this should be an easy case to predict — the law is clearly constitutional. But what complicates the decision and makes the result unpredictable is whether the justices will see the issue in terms of precedent or through the partisanship that has so dominated the public debate and most of the court decisions so far (Erwin Chemerinsky, 11/15).

The Washington Post: The Time Is Not Right For Supreme Court To Review Health Care Law
The court battle over President Obama's signature health-insurance reform law seems to be going his way. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the administration's request to hear challenges to the law and rule on them before July (Charles Lane, 11/14).

The Wall Street Journal: ObamaCare Goes To Court
Perhaps the most intriguing nugget in the Supreme Court's announcement is that it will take arguments on the law's Medicaid provisions. Intriguing because the Court was under no obligation to touch the law's Medicaid piece, which none of the lower courts invalidated. ObamaCare vastly expands Medicaid to the middle class and hammers hard any state that refuses to comply. It appears some of the Justices want to hear someone justify this federal aggrandizement as well (11/15).

The Wall Street Journal: ObamaCare And The Limits Of Government
The Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether ObamaCare is constitutional, granting certiorari in a case brought by 26 states shortly after that law was enacted in March of last year. In so doing, it will be ruling upon the very nature of our federal union (David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey, 11/15).

USA Today: High Court Risks Reputation With Health Care Law
The court's ruling, expected next June in the middle of a presidential election year, has the potential to decide the constitutionality of the law's mandate that Americans buy health insurance. But the ruling could do something else: enhance or diminish the reputation of the Supreme Court itself, as well as the judiciary more generally. In recent years, judges increasingly have come to be seen not as independent, fair-minded interpreters of the law and the Constitution, but as politicians in robes (11/14).

Bloomberg: Supreme Court Cannot Dispel Health Care Doubts Too Quickly
The court has said it will hear arguments on whether taking the case was in and of itself premature. … Further delay and uncertainty might be convenient for the court, but it would hardly serve the public interest. If the law is constitutionally broken, it needs to be mended, and promptly. Planning and putting it in place cannot proceed smoothly until this is resolved (11/14).

Fox News: What We Will Tell The Supreme Court About ObamaCare
This is nothing short of an historic week for America’s small businesses. With the Supreme Court’s announcement today that it has accepted our petition, "National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius," along with the petition from the 26 states case challenging the constitutionality of "ObamaCare," the small-business community soared to the top of the radar screen of every politician and policy-maker in the nation. We cannot be ignored. Lip service to our issues is not enough. We are going to have our day in court and we might just win  (Dan Danner, 11/14).

Kaiser Health News: Analysis: Keys To The Supreme Court's Health Law Review 
By agreeing today to hear challenges to President Obama's 2010 health care law, the Supreme Court set the stage for a decision — probably in late June and in the midst of the presidential campaign — that could be among its most important in decades (Stuart Taylor, 11/14).

Denver Post: Another Presidential Election For The Supremes?
The big political news is not the sudden surge of Newtmentum, although that's certainly big enough. ... No, the blockbuster news is the decision Monday by the Supreme Court to rule on health care reform by next summer, right in the middle of the 2012 campaign. It looks like the Supreme Court could help determine the presidential race (once again) (Mike Littwin, 11/15). 

Sacramento Bee: Health Reform Backers Take A Powder On Law
The health care overhaul was the signature achievement of President Barack Obama and the then-majority Democratic Congress in 2010. But you'd never know. Supporters appeared to be running away from the health care law during the 2010 election campaign – and nothing since has changed that impression. Whatever the U.S. Supreme Court decides next year, the health care law will not succeed if a majority of the public doesn't understand or support it (11/15).

San Jose Mercury News: Court Should Support Health Care Reforms
The U.S. Supreme Court took a welcome step Monday in agreeing to hear a challenge to President Barack Obama's medical coverage reforms. ... The court should rule in favor of the Affordable Care Act, giving Congress the power to require people to purchase health insurance. The concept is little different from the requirement to, for example, withhold a portion of paychecks for Social Security. The most recent polls indicate a majority of Americans now support moving forward with the reforms (11/14).

Roll Call: Newt Gingrich Wants To Kill The CBO Messenger
According to Gingrich, the CBO should be done away with because its analysis shows that, as enacted, health care reform reduces the federal budget deficit. This means that repealing it — as many in the GOP base to which Gingrich is appealing wants to do — will increase the deficit and, therefore, require spending cuts or revenue increases to offset the impact. That, of course, will make the repeal effort much harder and far less likely (Stan Collender, 11/15).

The Miami Herald: On 'Personhood' And Abortion
Moral clarity is one of the most seductive traits of social conservatism. …  On issue after issue — same sex marriage, gun control, Muslim rights — they fly straight as a bullet to their final conclusion, usually distillable to the width of a bumper sticker. So last week's election result in Mississippi comes as a seismic shock. By a significant margin — 58 to 42 percent — voters rejected an anti-abortion amendment to the state constitution defining the fertilized human egg as a person, with all the rights and protections attendant thereto (Leonard Pitts Jr., 11/15).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Family Care Cuts Should Be Reversed
(N)early 7,000 other Minnesotans who are paid by the state to care for their low-income disabled relatives were in for a 20 percent pay cut this fall, until a judge intervened on Oct. 26. Ramsey County Judge Dale Lindman's temporary restraining order put the payment reduction enacted by the 2011 Legislature on hold. Lindman's next move ought to be to scrap it for good. … This cut disrupts lives in ways that run contrary to the best interests of anyone involved, including taxpayers (11/14).

Georgia Health News: Colleges Lack Mental Health Support
Mental health support is sorely needed on college campuses. A recent survey by the American College Counseling Association found that the mental health of incoming freshman is at an all-time low. ... Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a groundbreaking public education program that allows colleges and universities to be proactive in addressing the mental health needs of their students and faculty (Kristen McLean, 11/14).

The New England Journal of Medicine: Improving Adherence — Money Isn't The Only Thing
Value-based insurance design may be a useful complement to the health savings accounts and consumer-driven health plans that are increasingly being offered in the market. ... The goal of these plans is to foster greater cost-consciousness by consumers, deter utilization, and lower the cost of care. The challenge is that patients are often poor judges about the relative or absolute benefits of different health care services. ... Reducing or eliminating the costs of highly beneficial medicines is almost certainly one key component of increasing adherence, even if its absolute benefit is distressingly modest (Dr. Lee Goldman and Dr. Arnold M. Epstein, 11/14).

The Archives of Internal Medicine: Thinking Our Way To Better Treatments Of Chronic Pain
Despite being the backbone of therapy for chronic nonmalignant pain, there is little evidence that long-term opioid use is efficacious in reducing pain, much less in restoring function, the true goal of treatment. ... Despite the fact that patients are often treated with opioids for chronic pain indefinitely, the few randomized studies that support this treatment were only a few months in duration. ... (Dr. John McBeth and colleagues) make an important contribution by demonstrating that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exercise, either alone or in combination, are superior to usual management of chronic widespread pain, a subset of chronic nonmalignant pain (Dr. Seth A. Berkowitz and Dr. Mitchell H. Katz, 11/14).

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