Although many people think that healthcare and insurance could never be an exciting blog article topic, the Supreme Court is set to take up several significant cases in 2016 that could have potentially game-changing ramifications. Here is a look at three of the biggest cases to be decided in 2016 related to the insurance industry, Obamacare, and abortion.
3) Health Insurance
Just weeks ago, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for a case called Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. This case is important because which could have big implications for healthcare regulations. The lawsuit relates to a Vermont law that requires insurers to provide data on health care claims for a massive computer database.
The insurance company Liberty Mutual argues that the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1973, or ERISA, trumps the state laws and it should not have to turn over the confidential customer data.
However, while ERISA was created to dictate certain standards for pensions and health care plans in the private sector, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals found that ERISA preempted the requirement to collect information. Vermont then petitioned the court to reverse the lower court’s decision.
“Many states, including Vermont, rely on health care databases for accurate, complete information to support, inform and test health care policies,” the state’s complaint said. “The Second Circuit’s unjustified expansion of ERISA preemption in this case threatens these important tools.”
A decision related to this case is expected to be published in June of this year.
In the last few years, healthcare law has gone through significant changes. Some of these changes have been very dramatic, that is why it is not surprising that healthcare is again on Supreme Court docket.
In the upcoming months, the court will hear the case Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Burwell. This care centers on birth control and its coverage within Obamacare. Under the new laws, birth control is a preventive service that insurers must cover. But religious nonprofit organizations like universities and charities claim that providing birth control is directly opposed to their religious beliefs.
A few years back, the Supreme Court ruled that some private companies could object to the provision of the current law with respect to birth control if it was against their religion. This meant that employees could get birth control paid for by insurers pay instead of actual companies.
In the latest case in front of the courts, one specific charity says the compromise is not enough for their strict belief system. The nun-run organization wants an exemption that would prevent workers from getting birth control at all under their specific health plan.
Many onlookers believe that if the court gets rid of the first compromise, the law itself would not be derailed. However, other cases currently moving through the federal court system could potentially overturn Obamacare.
Another ongoing case claiming that Obamacare’s subsidies were not approved by the proper parties. A judge recently ruled that the lawsuit could move forward.
Additionally, there is another lawsuit protesting the law’s individual requirement for buying health insurance. That lawsuit contends any bill that raises revenue must originate in the House. In this case, clearly it did not.
The regulations regarding health care went into effect in 2014 increase penalties to $695 per person if individuals do not have healthcare coverage. The Supreme Court has not decided yet whether to hear this particular case in 2016.
Whole Women’s Health v. Cole is the latest abortion case before the Supreme Court and is potentially the biggest one since Roe v. Wade. In this instance, the case is based upon a 2013 Texas law that “forces abortion clinics to meet the requirements of ambulatory surgical centers and requires doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals”. Opponents claim that the restrictions present unnecessary obstacles for women in Texas who want to have abortions.
The case also will also bring clarity to the 1992 compromise laid out in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This ruling found that state law cannot create substantial obstacles for a woman seeking to obtain an abortion.
In this year’s case, the court could either scrap the previous compromise or set up a new standard. Oral arguments for the case are set for early this year, and a decision is expected in June 2016.
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