LTC groups eagerly await Supreme Court decision on healthcare reform

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The U.S. Supreme Court building
The U.S. Supreme Court building

Despite the mixed feelings about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act among long-term care providers, all groups agree that they will be closely monitoring a case now headed to the Supreme Court.

The high court said Monday it would hear oral arguments on ACA's constitutionality in March. The challenge to the 2010 law is being brought by a collection of Republican governors and attorneys general from 26 states, the National Federation of Independent Business and two individual plaintiffs.

At issue is the law's individual mandate, which requires all Americans to purchase health insurance or face paying a penalty. Besides the individual mandate, the court will also debate whether the expansion of Medicaid, authorized under the law, is constitutional.

Lauren Shaham, LeadingAge's vice president of communications, said the decision to take up the case is not unexpected, given conflicting lower court judgments.

“LeadingAge supports healthcare reform because after extensive deliberation, our board determined that reform of our present health care delivery system, including long-term services and supports, is ‘a moral obligation of our society and our government,'” Shaham said.

The Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care and the American Health Care Association declined to comment. The National Center for Assisted Living said it would be closely monitoring the case, while Cynthia Morton, the executive vice president for the National Association for the Support of Long-Term Care mused that many providers have already invested time enacting the ACA provisions.

“So much policy has already been set in motion,” Morton told McKnight's. “I hope lawmakers remember that.”

The court has indicated it will set aside a record six hours to hear oral testimony in the case, The Hill reported. The court is expected to issue a decision by the end of June.