High Court's Ruling Could Affect Health IT Aspects of Reform Law

TOPIC ALERT:

The Supreme Court's ruling on the federal health reform law potentially could affect certain health IT-related provisions of the overhaul, according to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Government Health IT reports (Hodge, Government Health IT, 3/26).

About the Case

On Monday, the Supreme Court started hearing oral arguments in the lawsuit against the health reform law (Barnes/Aizenman, Washington Post, 3/26).

Monday's arguments focused on the tax Anti-Injunction Act, an 1867 federal law. Under that law, the high court could decide that the case cannot be heard until the defendants pay the penalty for not obtaining health coverage on their taxes in 2015.

On Tuesday, the court is expected to hear arguments about the constitutionality of the reform law's individual mandate (Liptak, New York Times, 3/26).

During the six hours of arguments scheduled over three days, the court also will weigh:

  • Whether the remainder of the law can stand if the individual mandate is struck down; and
  • Whether the Medicaid expansion amounts to unlawful coercion of the states by the federal government (Radnofsky, "Washington Wire," Wall Street Journal, 3/23).

HIMSS Discusses Health IT-Related Implications of Case

Last week, HIMSS released a fact sheet on the major issues that the Supreme Court will consider in the reform law case.

In a blog post, Richard Hodge -- HIMSS senior director of congressional affairs -- wrote that the court's ruling potentially could affect several health IT-related provisions of the law, which are outlined in a 2010 HIMSS summary document. According to Hodge, health IT could play a role in reform law provisions related to:

  • Electronic health information exchanges;
  • An extension of the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative; and
  • New quality-based reimbursement methods, such as the accountable care organization demonstration projects.

The court is expected to rule on the reform law case by the end of June 2012 (Government Health IT, 3/26).


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