The odds of healthcare reform surviving are ...

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James M. Berklan, Editor
James M. Berklan, Editor

I wonder what the bookies in London are thinking about the odds of the U.S. healthcare reform law surviving. Surely they have taken bets on its possible demise, just as they do seemingly everything else with a questionable outcome.

It's widely believed the U.S. Supreme Court will hand down its rulings on the Affordable Care Act in the coming week. The members of the court made their decisions weeks ago, of course. But the final tally has not yet been publicly released, and the final written opinions may still be in the polishing stages.

Based on the questions posed by the justices during arguments several months ago, it appears the individual mandate (for buying insurance) is toast. It's a goner by a 5-4 vote, possibly 6-3 or more.

The bigger question to me, and so many others, is whether they have voted to dump the entire reform package. That is more of a toss-up. Will the justices say a broken axle means the whole car should be taken to the junkyard? Or will they try to salvage the nifty new power steering, some new navigational gear and the fantastic new capacity that vehicles before this never had?

I don't profess to have the answer to that one, though 51% of me believes the court's conservative majority will use its power to tell the administration, “Sorry, but we're putting emotions aside and we want you to start all over.” And probably without the “sorry,” too.

It's just a guessing game, though, one that has been played thousands of times in offices and homes around the country. Even major long-term care lobbyists — who are often in the know ahead of time, if not happily so — admit they don't know.

My sense is that many long-term care operators would vote the same as many business owners would. They'd say toss out the entire healthcare reform package, thousands upon thousands of pages that it is.

My fear is it might happen, washing out many lesser-known, but necessary provisions that long-term care operators desperately need to move forward and thrive.

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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editor's Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor on Monday and Friday; Staff Writer Tim Mullaney on Tuesday, Editor James M. Berklan on Wednesday and Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman on Thursday.


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