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Happy 2nd Birthday, Health Reform, Just in Time for the Supremes: A Roundup of Great Analysis

Happy 2nd Birthday, Health Reform, Just in Time for the Supremes: A Roundup of Great Analysis

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health reform, affordable care act, reporting on health, supreme court, health journalism

Health reform's second birthday today is partially eclipsed by advance coverage of next week's unprecedented Supreme Court hearings on whether it will survive. Here's a roundup of smart analysis on both fronts:

The Washington Post's Sarah Kliff offers an enlightening and detailed look at all the stuff in the 2010 Affordable Care Act that won't be addressed by the Supremes, namely its efforts to change how health care is delivered and paid for. "It includes 45 changes to how doctors deliver health care - and how patients pay for it. These reforms, if successful, will move the country's health system away from one that pays for volume and toward one that pays for value," writes Kliff, a Dennis Hunt Journalism Fund recipient

Julie Rovner of NPR outlines how health reform could survive if its centerpiece, the individual mandate, is struck down as unconstitutional. She writes:

According to a new study by the RAND Corp., 12.5 million fewer people would gain insurance coverage, premiums would rise by 2.4 percent, and total government spending would go up slightly.

That's because unless healthy people can be somehow persuaded to buy insurance, only the sick will sign up. That raises costs because everyone paying in is also collecting benefits.

Words matter: Harvard public health professor John McDonough unpacks the history and usage of "Obamacare" vs. the "Affordable Care Act," noting that:

Calling it "ObamaCare" makes one's views of the law a mini-referendum on President Obama. If Obama's favorables were in the 60% range, it might not be so bad. But in the mid-40s, it sets an artificial ceiling making people more likely to judge the law unfavorably because they don't like the President.  Thus, the nation's partisan divide contributes to negative feelings about the ACA as well.

Writing in the Washington Post, law professor and New Republic legal affairs editor Jeffrey Rosen deconstructs how the various Supreme Court justices might rule by imagining the jokes they'll make during oral argument next week (the concept works better than it sounds).

More straightforwardly, veteran Supreme Court reporter Lyle Denniston outlines in great detail what's likely to happen during the three days of oral argument next week and Reuters' Joan Biskupic analyzes why the Supremes are likely to uphold the law even when political conventional wisdom suggests they won't.

Photo credit: landhere via Flickr

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