Supreme Court upholds key provisions of health care reform
WASHINGTON, June 28. 2012—The U.S. Supreme Court upheld major provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, but placed restrictions on the government’s planned expansion of Medicaid.
By a 5-4 vote, the high court ruled that the individual mandate was constitutional because it was created as a reasonable income tax penalty levied to encourage “shared responsibility.”
The court ruled, however, that the federal government could not force states to participate in a significant expansion of Medicaid by threatening to withdraw existing funding for the program. The government can withhold new funds.
Medicaid, along with its Children’s Health Insurance Program, now covers about 60 million Americans, and that would expand to about 82 million by the end of this decade under the Affordable Care Act.
The Affordable Care Act includes several provisions affecting the home medical equipment industry. According to AAHomecare, the provisions include:
--A requirement that competitive bid pricing be applied nationwide as early as 2015 but by 2016.
--Elimination of the 2 percent fee schedule increase for bid items in 2014.
--Elimination of the first-month purchase option for all power wheelchairs, except for complex rehab power chairs.
--Mandatory face-to-face requirement for all HME items
--Application of a productivity adjustment to the HME fee schedule payments not subject to bidding.
--A 2.3 percent tax on medical devices.