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Congress could kill the lawsuit that threatens to wipe out the Affordable Care Act, legal experts say, but the politics of the issue will almost certainly keep it from doing so.
Three different legal experts offer ideas as to how Congress could make the entire lawsuit moot, if it wanted to:
Yes, but: Doing any of these would require Republicans to act to save the ACA and Democrats to recognize the validity of the lawsuit.
What won't do anything, at least in a practical sense, is if the House votes to intervene in the case, as incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she wants to.
P.S. HHS issued a statement on the ruling yesterday, confirming that nothing is changing for now: "HHS will continue administering and enforcing all aspects of the ACA as it had before the court issued its decision."
P.P.S. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra made his opening moves to begin challenging the decision last night, focusing first on making sure the status quo remains in place while the legal proceedings play out.
We spend more on hospital care than any other type of health care service, but hospitals make up the smallest amount of out-of-pocket spending.
Between the lines:
Sen. Lamar Alexander — chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee — announced his retirement yesterday morning, and so is officially in legacy-making mode.
"Lowering health care costs is an obvious path towards getting lasting results to help the American people, and Alexander views it as a possible legacy item where he can drag both parties to a consensus before he retires," a person familiar with Alexander's thinking told me yesterday.
Our thought bubble: Alexander is retiring, and Sen. Chuck Grassley has only two years to chair the Finance Committee before he's term-limited out of the position. That makes two chairmen of health care committees who are incentivized to do something big before they leave their position.
A 2017 pro-ACA protest in New York. Photo: Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
Republicans may be publicly applauding the judge’s ruling now, but they might wish it had gone the other way if it’s upheld, Kaiser Family Foundation’s Drew Altman writes in today’s column.
The bottom line: Republicans may have been better off settling for the repeal of the mandate penalty, Altman writes. Now, they may have bought more than they bargained for.
The stock price of Acadia Healthcare, one of the largest providers of mental health and substance abuse treatment, dived almost 5% yesterday after the company made a surprising executive overhaul, my colleague Bob Herman reports.
Driving the news: Acadia’s board fired CEO Joey Jacobs, a move that comes less than a month after we and others reported on the major red flags at Acadia — such as high amounts of debt and questionable timing of executives, like Jacobs, selling their stock.
What we’re hearing: The firing likely indicates “internal turmoil at the board level” and makes it less likely that any rumored private equity buyout will happen, Ryan Daniels, a stock analyst at William Blair, wrote in a note to investors yesterday.