What Individual Mandate, Other Health Law Rulings May Mean For Americans

News outlets analyze arguments around the individual mandate and what a ruling by the Supreme Court will mean for most Americans. Kaiser Health News looks at changes in the health care industry as a result of the law, and how most of those shifts will continue regardless of what the Court decides.

The Connecticut Mirror: Supreme Court Begins Arguments On Landmark Health Care Law
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., was one of a handful of lawmakers who managed to snare a seat for Monday's oral arguments, considered one of the hottest tickets in town. ... [He] said the first day of the case was "fascinating" and "exciting." ... Connecticut's health insurers, including Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and Cigna will be watching closely. In an amicus brief, the nation's health insurers have asked the Supreme Court to free them from some of the Affordable Care Act's reforms if the mandate is judged unconstitutional (Radelat, 3/26).

Politico: Health Care Reform: Individual Mandate Will Not Affect Most Americans
The fight over the individual mandate has been so loud that people may think it will hit nearly everyone, whether they can afford health insurance or not. But what's usually overlooked is that the health reform law has so many exemptions that millions of Americans are likely to be off the hook, including a wide range of middle-class Americans. Most Americans already have coverage that satisfies the mandate (Feder, 3/26).

NPR: Uninsured Will Still Need Money To Meet The Mandate
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court hears its second day of testimony about the Affordable Care Act. At issue is a central tenet of that law: Whether it's legal to require individuals to purchase healthcare. But apart from the legal debate, there are questions about the economics of the mandate. Some … worry it may be difficult to find the money to pay for health insurance, even with government subsidies (Noguchi, 3/27).

The New York Times: Awaiting Health Law Ruling, And Preparing Plan B
State officials and insurance executives are devising possible alternatives to the coming federal requirement that most Americans buy health insurance, even as the Supreme Court hears arguments about the constitutionality of the mandate (Abelson, 3/26).

ProPublica: What's at Stake in the Supreme Court's Health Care Decisions
Here we map the possible outcomes, following the Court's schedule over the next three days. The Court ... is unlikely to issue a decision on the case until late June or early July. For more information on different states' progress implementing health care reforms, see this comprehensive list  (Groeger, 3/26).

WBUR's CommonHealth blog: Supreme Court Health Law Hearing: The 3-Minute Cartoon
Finally, I decided ... I’d ask for help from an expert teacher:Kevin Outterson, director of Boston University’s Health Law Program and a frequent blogger on health policy at The Incidental Economist. I told him that three minutes was the limit of my attention span for this topic, and though this challenge required of him a degree of simplification perhaps more radical than any he has ever attempted before, he was a great sport (Goldberg, 3/27).

The health law's changes are also transforming the health care industry and how it cares for patients --

Kaiser Health News: Health Law Accelerates Industry Changes
More consumers in Indianapolis, for instance, are getting their care from doctors employed by large health care organizations, who are collecting and sharing their medical records electronically and beginning to be rewarded for keeping patients healthier and holding down costs – largely by keeping them out of the hospital (Galewitz, 3/26).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.