13 Legal Issues for Hospitals and Health Systems in 2011
1) Lawsuits against the mandate to buy health insurance.
Since Congress is unlikely to repeal healthcare reform in the face of President Obama’s veto, any repeal in the next two years would have to come through the courts, and that prospect is becoming more likely. A federal judge in Florida became the first to reject the whole law, rather than just its highly unpopular mandate to buy insurance. He concluded the law is not “severable,” meaning if one part is removed, the rest would have to go, too. That’s a legal concept, but it is also an apt description of the interlocking nature of the law’s provisions. Keeping the popular protection for people with pre-existing conditions, for example, requires that everyone have insurance. Without such a mandate, people would have no reason to buy coverage until they got sick.