Ruling on Healthcare Reform Law by the U.S. Supreme Court Terrifies Insurers

Ruling on Healthcare Reform Law by the U.S. Supreme Court Terrifies Insurers

12/3/2011

 

The insurance industry is alarmed at the prospect of the Supreme Court striking down the individual mandate to purchase insurance next year while leaving intact the rest of the healthcare reform law.

One Republican healthcare lobbyist revealed in an interview with the media that for insurers, the demise of the mandate alone, which is one of the many likely outcomes in the blockbuster case, is the nightmare scenario.

The lobbyist said, “They’re terrified they’re going to be left holding the bag.”

In arguing for the mandate, the insurance industry cited the experiences of eight states that attempted and failed to reform their insurance markets without one back in the 1990s. they said that the requirements of the law are not viable unless everyone in the country buys insurance.

However, such argument might not sway the U.S. Supreme Court, which must rule on the “severability” of the mandate from the law, along with a horde of other constitutional and legal issues.

In an amicus brief which was filed last month with the Supreme Court, the insurance industry claimed that keeping the statute’s reforms in place without a mandate would produce “widespread … instability in the insurance market and, over time, would substantially reduce access to affordable coverage.”

In the brief, America’s Health Insurance Plans, or AHIP, stated, “The difference between … a mandate-less [health law] with market reforms intact, and without some or many of those market reforms is night and day.”

One insurance lobbyist said that the best-case scenario for the insurers would be for the high court to uphold the mandate. Without that, the industry would rather see the entire law thrown out.

The lobbyist said, “I’m not sure there’s a solution there that’s acceptable other than, it’s all or nothing.”

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com