How 5 lawsuits could change US healthcare industry

The Senate Judiciary Committee began its confirmation hearing for Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve as an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court Sept. 4.

The hearing, which is expected to last three to four days, according to C-SPAN, is the latest in a monthslong debate over Mr. Kavanaugh's appointment, which has drawn ire from a number of healthcare organizations that claim Mr. Kavanaugh may "turn back the clock" on several significant pieces of healthcare legislation, including Roe v. Wade and the ACA.

The Los Angeles Times compiled a list of five healthcare-related cases currently making their way through the federal court system that may impact the way the U.S. healthcare system operates. While the Supreme Court may not agree to hear or rule on each case, the justices may be asked at least to decide whether they deserve consideration.

1. Texas v. Azar
A coalition of 20 Republican governors and attorneys general are seeking to invalidate the ACA, arguing that the entire law is no longer applicable, as Congress eliminated part of the law that placed a penalty on people who do not have health insurance. Oral arguments for the case began Sept. 4.

2. Stewart v. Azar
A group of low-income Kentucky residents challenged a move by the Trump administration allowing the state to impose work requirements on Medicaid enrollees. The federal government has not historically allowed states to make work a condition for receiving Medicaid coverage, the report states. In June, a federal judge strongly backed the group's challenge to Kentucky's mandated work requirements, which led HHS to reconsider the state's request to impose such stipulations.

3. New York v. Acosta
A coalition of 12 Democratic attorneys general challenged a Trump administration regulation that made it easier for small business employers and individuals to band together and buy association health plans that do not meet insurance plan standards outlined by the ACA. The group argues the Trump administration's rule violates the ACA's aim of establishing minimum insurance protections, the report states. The case was filed in federal district court in Washington, D.C., in July and is awaiting a hearing.

4. West Alabama Women's Center v. Miller
Two abortion providers challenged a 2016 Alabama law barring healthcare providers from using a surgical technique called dilation and evacuation, which is typically used to end a pregnancy in the second trimester. Some experts told the Los Angeles Times that by taking the case, or a similar one, the Supreme Court would have the option to revisit the broader issue of abortion rights outlined in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. An Atlanta federal appeals court unanimously upheld an injunction against the law in August, barring the state from implementing the restrictions outlined in the legislation.

5. Columbus v. Trump
Columbus, Ohio, and several other cities and individuals filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump, arguing he is ignoring his constitutional responsibility to enforce the law by deliberately undermining the ACA, subjecting thousands of Americans to higher health costs. If successful, the lawsuit would represent a historic rebuke of a president failing to follow the law and force the administration to reverse a number of steps it has taken to weaken the ACA, the report states. The lawsuit was filed in the federal district court of Maryland in August and is awaiting a hearing.

To access the full report, click here.

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