Who pays? The wage-insurance trade-off and corporate religious freedom claims

Corporations’ religious freedom claims against the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate miss a “basic fact of health economics: health insurance, like wages, is compensation that belongs to the employee,” says Elizabeth Sepper, JD, health law expert and associate professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis. Sepper’s scholarship explores the interaction of morality, professional ethics, and law in medicine.

Moving forward: ACA provides opportunity to improve overall health system

The survival of the Affordable Care Act in the Supreme Court presents a monumental moment to improve the U.S. health care system, says Elizabeth Sepper, JD, health law expert and associate professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis. “It is a uniquely American crisis that 50 million Americans don’t have health insurance and another 29 million are underinsured, meaning getting sick would ruin them financially even though they’ve been paying for insurance,” she says.

Constitutional law expert and former SCOTUS clerk comments on ACA decision

“I expected the Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA), however, two elements of this decision are very surprising: the fact that the mandate survives under the taxing power while failing under the Commerce Clause and Necessary and Proper Clause, and the fact that Chief Justice Roberts was in the majority without Justice Kennedy,” says Gregory Magarian, JD, constitutional law expert and professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis. “Roberts’ vote looks to me, as a first impression, like a brilliant piece of judicial strategizing.” Magarian is a former U.S. Supreme Court clerk 
for Justice John Paul Stevens.

Exploring the tax aspects of the Affordable Care Act decision

“Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion on the Affordable Care Act mostly conforms with the way I previously understood the taxing power of the federal government,” says Adam Rosenzweig, JD, tax law expert and associate professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis. Rosenzweig says that there were two important pieces of the Roberts opinion from a tax standpoint.

Lack of competition could hike costs in health insurance exchanges

A new study suggests that health insurance exchanges, a key provision of the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, may need to be monitored by policymakers to make sure there is sufficient competition between private insurance plans. In the study, published in Health Affairs, Timothy McBride, PhD, professor and associate dean for public health at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, examined the insurance premiums, availability of plans and enrollment levels under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). “From its inception, the health reform legislation used the structure of the FEHBP to guide the design of these exchanges,” McBride says.