One of the most highly anticipated decisions of the term—at least among the Sheppard Mullin Healthcare team—was issued today by the Supreme Court: King v. Burwell. Six of the justices, including Chief Justice Roberts, voted to uphold the Administration’s interpretation of the law, leaving the availability of tax credits to people insured on the federal exchange and the current status quo in place.
As explained in previous posts, the elimination of subsidies posed a significant risk to individuals on and off the exchange as well as to providers and payors. Having made it past this stumbling block, where does healthcare reform go from here? There are many new conversations to be had and old ones to be revisited including:
- whether King v. Burwell will entrench the current organization of states offering their own exchanges versus relying on the federal exchange and to what effect;
- whether there are other features that matter in developing a successful exchange and whether current exchanges are getting them right;
- how and to what extent the outcome in King v. Burwell will affect other trends spurred by the Affordable Care Act, including consolidation, value-based purchasing and state-of-the-art technology; and
- whether the debates over the legality, political feasibility and public palatability of the Affordable Care Act are finally settled.
Stay tuned over the coming weeks as we contemplate these questions in a closer look at the ruling and its impact.
The opinion is available here.