WashU Expert: Supreme Court likely to uphold Obamacare tax credits, avoid chaos​

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to announce its decision in a lawsuit that threatens federal health insurance subsidies for more than 6 million Americans, health care economist Timothy D. McBride, PhD, professor in the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, is confident the high court will side with the Obama administration. If the court decides otherwise, low-income residents in many states will have little access to affordable healthcare, he warns.

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.

Birth control policy not a constitutional law issue

The current controversy over the Barack Obama administration’s birth control policy is not, contrary to some arguments, a matter of constitutional law, says Gregory P. Magarian, JD, constitutional law expert and professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis. It is however, a matter of Constitutional principle, Magarian says.

Supreme Court’s Affordable Care Act decision will have massive, immediate impact

The Supreme Court will hear several states’ legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act, ensuring that the court — in late June 2012 — will deliver a momentous statement about the ever-contentious constitutional balance between federal and state power. “The key element of the states’ lawsuits targets the act’s requirement that everyone in the country must purchase commercial health insurance,” says constitutional law expert Gregory P. Magarian, JD, professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis.

Health insurance non-benefit expenditures unnecessarily excessive

The U.S. remains on track to spend twice as much for health care as for food, yet millions are without insurance or uninsured. “Health insurance premiums also continue to rise – on average another 9 percent in 2011,” says Merton Bernstein, JD, leading health insurance expert and the Walter D. Coles Professor of Law Emeritus at Washington University in St. Louis. “Medical care costs can change direction if policy makers stop whistling past a significant contributor – non-benefit costs.”
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