Impact Of Same-Sex Marriage

The federal government is trying to expedite the process to extend benefits like health care and life insurance to gay and lesbian married couples in response to the Supreme Court decision that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act.  Most government entities, like the Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration, are still examining how to apply the ruling to same-sex couples.  All 50 states have 60 days to enroll their same-sex spouses in an array of benefits like vision, dental, long-term care and survivors’ annuities.

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Top Healthcare Story Of 2012

By far, the number one health care news story of 2012 was the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the individual mandate outlined by the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

In a split decision, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. casting the deciding vote, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the cornerstone of President Obama’s healthcare reform law and signature domestic initiative. Roberts joined liberals on the court in upholding the mandate at the heart of the underlying law, saying the mandate could survive as a tax.

Following three days of oral arguments on the law’s constitutionality in March, insiders widely believed the individual mandate, and perhaps the entire healthcare law, was very much in jeopardy. However, the Justice Department argued the mandate does not force people to participate in the market for health insurance, but rather regulates participation in the market for healthcare services.

The high court rejected Medicaid expansion provisions in the new healthcare law. The court ruled that Congress overstepped its authority when it said states must go along with the Medicaid insurance program for low-income people, providing expanded coverage to about 17 million over the next decade.  Connecticut was the first state to participate in the provision which will be funded by the federal government beginning in 2014.

The HMS Blog posted two series on health reform: Understanding Health Reform  and The Impact of Federal Health Reform as well as a Post Election Guide to Health Reform to help sift through the confusion and clarify provisions of the PPACA.

HHS: No Funding For Partial Medicaid Expansion

The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced yesterday it will not provide federal funding for states opting to partially expand Medicaidunder the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

The decision is significant because several states have indicated they might engage in a less generous expansion after the Supreme Court made the Medicaid expansion optional.

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Healthcare Tweets Up 51%

Health-related tweets are on the rise, up 51% this year. That chatter includes general commentary from Twitter users about their personal health, as well as health education and policy-related posts. But the most tweeted healthcare issue was the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA) earlier this year.

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Ten Things You Didn’t Know Were In The Affordable Care Act

So much focus has been placed on the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act upheld by the Supreme Court a few short weeks ago.  But the ACA consists of hundred of pages which touch on a variety of issues including Oral Health Care, Postpartum Depression, Breast Cancer and Face-To Face Encounters.

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House Voting To Repeal Healthcare Reform Law

HMS Healthcare Management SolutionsLater today, the House will vote a second time to repeal the entire healthcare reform law, giving members a chance to weigh in following the Supreme Court’s ruling that the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is constitutional.

The House has voted to end three programs created by the law and to halt or rescind funding for seven of the law’s provisions. And even if today’s vote never gets signed into law by President Obama, Republicans have vow to keep trying.

Stay tuned to the HMS blog for more information on the vote, which is expected to pass on a mostly party-line vote.

Additional Health Law Legal Challenges Loom

The Supreme Court lawsuit isn’t the end to the legal challenges facing health reform.  Next week, the House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing to discuss the tax ramifications of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the healthcare law.

The hearing will mark the first chance for members of Congress to talk about the court’s decision upholding the individual mandate.

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