Ruling could have implications for Medicaid and 340B expansion.
November 14, 2011—The U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to hear three lawsuits on the constitutionality of 2010's federal health care reform law, with a main area of focus on whether the entire law must be struck down if the Court invalidates the mandate that virtually all Americans obtain health insurance by 2014.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) included a major expansion of the 340B drug discount program and provisions to improve program integrity. None of ACA's 340B provisions are directly at issue in the three cases accepted by the High Court. But if the justices were to decide that the so-called individual mandate was unconstitutional and that the entire law was unconstitutional as a result, a shadow would be cast over 340B's expansion and program integrity enhancements. Lower courts have disagreed on whether the individual mandate is constitutional.
In accepting the cases for review, the Supreme Court also agreed to rule on the constitutionality of ACA's major expansion of the Medicaid program.
The justices set aside five and a half hours for oral arguments in the cases, which is believed to be record amount of time. It did not announce a date for proceedings. A final ruling is expected in June.
The cases are National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (Case No. 11-393), Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services (No. 11-400), and Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida (No. 11-398).