Welcome to the Affordable Care Act live blog, everybody!
We're expecting the Supreme Court to issue their opinion in about an hour and a half.
You'll have to forgive any technical errors that occur today. This is my first time using ScribbleLive. Most of our other liveblogs have been in CoverItLive.
I'm liking ScribbleLive, though. Seems a lot less clunky so far.
That's the official Supreme Court blog, run by Bloomberg
I've invited Capitol reporters Jared Hunt and Ry Rivard to collaborate on this blog, but neither is in the office yet....
You're going to get tired of looking at my avatar.
I wrote it back when the Supreme Court was having hearings on the ACA. Basically, state healthcare leaders believe the law won't work without the insurance mandate
Dave Ramsey, Charleston Area Medical Center's CEO, said at the time he didn't think the fines associated with the mandate were steep enough
From the story: "Beginning in 2014, individuals who chose not to purchase health insurance would pay either a fine of $95, or 1 percent of his or her income. That fine would rise to $695 or 2 percent of the person's income by 2016."
"The fines are capped, however. Individuals would never pay more in fines than the cost of a health insurance policy."
Ramsey told me the fines have to be steep enough to make people want to pick health insurance over the fines. Since the fines are never going to cost as much as health insurance, he said there was no incentive to buy insurance.
Other than, y'know, the ability to access healthcare when you need it
I'm hearing different things about the ETA of the decision. Earlier this week it was 10 a.m., this morning on NPR I heard 10:30, the SCOTUS blog is saying 10:15.
Truth be told, reporters are probably the only ones who care what time the decision drop
Okay, SCOTUS blog just said the justices will take the bench at 10 a.m. Health care will be announced shortly thereafter. It could be the last opinion read if Chief Justice Roberts wrote it, since opinions are read in order of reverse seniority.
If that sounds confusing, it is.
Justices with the least seniority get to read their opinions first.
But the chief justice always has the most seniority, even if they're the newest justice to the court
So any decision written by the chief justice will always be read last.
If Affordable Care Act is upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, West Virginia will be expected to add 130,000 people to its Medicaid program by 2020, according to recent state government estimates
The cost of this will be relatively minimal to the state in the short term: the feds pick up the expansion costs in the first several years. Then the enlarged Medicaid program will be a mix of state and federal dollars. The projected several hundreds of millions of dollars in shortfalls in the Medicaid program -- contrary to what some people imply -- are, so far as I can tell, unrelated to health care reform in any direct way.
Ry, I don't know if you know this, but how many people are on Medicaid in the state currently?
There are about 420,000 people on Medicaid in West Virginia right now.
So far, the on-the-ground effect on the state of West Virginia has been mostly uncontested if not positive -- coverage through college on parents insurance, etc. -- while the costs and politically contentious requirements come later (something that was likely by design by the people who passed the law, a way to make it harder to claw back). Even the state's nascent health insurance exchange that has been the focus of criticism, particularly from Republicans, is not up and running and it's fairly unclear exactly how that will even work when it is.
I should back up and note the individual mandate isn't the only constitutional challenge against the ACA. Some court challenges have suggested that Medicaid expansion Ry's talking about is unconstitutional, since it puts an undue burden on the st
West Virginians for Affordable Health Care are planning a 3:30 press conference about today's decision. We're going to have somebody there, too.
ining up my phone calls for once the decision drops.
Okay, ScribbleLive is creating some really annoying line breaks.
That's Lyle Denniston, sorry.
The first decision is now being read.
Not healthcare, as predicted.
Kennedy's reading this opinion, which strikes down the Stolen Valor Act because it violates the First Amendment
Healthcare opinion! Coming up.
(This is from the SCOTUS blog, by the way. It's the only way for us to find out what's going on in the court this morning.)
AP says the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate, CNN is saying the Court struck it down
So...somebody is really bad at speed reading
The individual mandate lives as a tax (says the SCOTUS blog)
"It's very complicated, so we're still figuring it out. "