Tag Archives: Norm Ornstein

What if the Supreme Court Tosses Out the ACA?

Opponents of the Affordable Care Act are hoping that the Supreme Court will soon invalidate the law and put a permanent end to the federal government’s expanded role in health care. But one Capitol Hill watcher says the defeat of the ACA by the high court could lead to something conservatives would like even less – single-payer health care. Well, not anytime soon. But tossing out the law could help nudge things in that direction over time.

Norman J. Ornstein, Ph.D., an author and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said he could imagine a scenario where if the ACA were defeated, over time, Democrats would move to expand Medicare beyond the 65 and older crowd. Mr. Ornstein, who has a new book coming soon on the growing dysfunction in Washington, offered his two cents while speaking to a group of physicians at the Society of Hospital Medicine’s annual meeting in San Diego this week.

Protesters outside the Supreme Court in March. Photo by FRANCES CORREA/ IMNG Medical Media.

Another way that single-payer health care could become a reality is at the state level. Individual states might experiment with single payer-type programs along the lines of the Green Mountain Care program in Vermont, Mr. Ornstein said. Lawmakers in that state have enacted legislation allowing them to phase in a single-payer health care system over the next several years. But they have yet to hammer out details on how to pay for the program and it’s unclear how long it will take to move from the current framework of public and private insurance to a single-payer system.

— Mary Ellen Schneider



Filed under Health Policy, health reform, IMNG, Practice Trends

Repeal? Replace? The Policy & Practice Podcast

Washington’s abuzz this week as Congress returns to begin its lame duck session and Republicans start laying the groundwork for the next Congress — including their much-talked-about promise to repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act.

Via Flickr Creative Commons user Fibonacci Blue

In the meantime, new and returning congressmen might want to take a look at the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform’s draft plan to reduce the deficit, issued by the two co-chairmen of the bipartisan commission. Health care is a big reason for runaway government spending, the co-chairmen said; however, they added that health reform might be an important mechanism for reducing those outlays.

Among the proposals was something near and dear to most physicians’ hearts: an overhaul of Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate.

But some veteran Congress-watchers said last week that the Commission’s proposals could easily go by the wayside. To hear what they have to say, check out this week’s podcast:

And look for next week’s installment, when we’ll bring you the best and the worst of this week’s Senate Finance Committee grilling of Don Berwick, the recess-appointed head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

— Alicia Ault (on Twitter @aliciaault)

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Filed under Health Policy, health reform, IMNG, Podcast, Practice Trends, Primary care