Life After King v. Burwell: Is HHS Ready?

Is the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) prepared to deal with the possible aftermath of the Supreme Court’s
decision in King v. Burwell? That’s what House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican leaders asked HHS Secretary, Sylvia Burwell, in a recent letter.

“Given HHS’s responsibilities, we believe it is prudent that the Department plan for the full range of potential outcomes and consequences of the Court’s decision,” the letter states.

The Supreme Court is slated to hear oral arguments in the case in March 2015.

ACA oversight. The letter indicates that the committee is conducting oversight on the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Specifically, the committee is examining the extent to which HHS, and other relevant agencies of the federal government, are preparing for the possible consequences of the King decision. The letter asks Burwell, “What actions, analysis, and/or contingency planning has HHS undertaken in advance of the Supreme Court’s King v. Burwell decision?”

The committee is seeking information regarding:

• all scenarios considered or evaluated;
• any attempts or efforts to anticipate or assess the practical consequences of the decision;
• any options, proposals or recommendations that have been considered, adopted or rejected, including those currently under consideration; and
• any related memoranda or analyses produced in connection with efforts to anticipate or otherwise address the impact of the coming decision.

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