Health Care Reform

March 23, 2012 by staff 

Health Care Reform, The U.S. Supreme Court is a busy place this time of year. So when the justices announced that, starting March 26, they would hear six hours of arguments on the health care reform law—the most time it has dedicated to any one case in decades—the gravitas of the issue became clear to all.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is perhaps the most profound change to health care since Medicaid was instituted in 1965. “This case deserves the hype it’s getting,” says Gregory Magarian, a law professor at Washington University in Saint Louis School of Law.

The case is not just a political lightning rod—and whatever decisions emerge from the Court in the early summer will likely do little to diffuse the partisan tensions around the issue. What’s really at stake in the case is individuals’ access to health care.

Signed into law March 23, 2010, PPACA is expected to expand access to health care to an additional 32 million uninsured people in the U.S.—unless all or part of it is struck down by the Supreme Court.

“If this law’s thrown out, I think we’re resigned to the status quo, which is a lot of people without access to health care for a long time,” says Larry Levitt, an expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan policyanlysis organization. “I don’t think there’s any question about what lack of access to health care means: people get treated later, and some people die earlier as a result.”

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