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June 29, 2020

Around the nation: Trump admin urges SCOTUS to invalidate ACA

Daily Briefing

    The Department of Justice in a legal brief filed Thursday argued that the Supreme Court should strike down the Affordable Care Act (ACA) because a change Congress made to one of the law's provisions in 2017 made the entire ACA invalid, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news form the District of Columbia, Illinois, and Maryland.

    • District of Columbia: The Department of Justice (DOJ) in a legal brief filed Thursday argued that the Supreme Court should strike down the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in its entirety. DOJ claimed a 2017 tax reform law that zeroed out the tax penalty for remaining uninsured under the ACA's individual mandate rendered the mandate unconstitutional, which in turn made the entire law unconstitutional. The Supreme Court isn't scheduled to consider the case until this fall, and likely won't issue a ruling until after November's presidential election. The eventual ruling could have significant implications for the country's health insurance market and more than 20 million Americans who are enrolled in coverage under the ACA (Armour, Wall Street Journal, 6/26; Luthi, Politico, 6/25; Alonso-Zaldivar/Sherman, Associated Press, 6/25).

    • Illinois: Walgreens on Monday announced it has resumed immunization services at its pharmacies in preparation for America's next flu season. The company said staff are following safety measures, including the use of masks, to protect against possible transmission of the new coronavirus while administering the vaccines. Walgreens said flu shots will be even more important this year in light of the potential for a second wave of coronavirus cases in the fall (Maddipatla, Reuters, 6/22).

    • Maryland: CMS on Thursday released a proposed rule to update payments rates and implement other changes to the Home Health Prospective Payment System for calendar year (CY) 2021. Under the proposal, CMS would make permanent changes that the agency made in March to telehealth restrictions for home health providers amid the country's coronavirus epidemic. CMS under the proposed rule also would update home health payment rates for CY 2021. The agency estimated the payment rate updates would boost aggregate Medicare payments to home health agencies by 2.6%, or a total of $540 million, in CY 2021 when compared with CY 2020 (Brady, Modern Healthcare, 6/25; CMS fact sheet, 6/25).

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