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AHIP: Health reform unworkable without individual mandate

The insurance lobby group America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) has advised the U.S. Supreme Court that the health reform law is unworkable without an individual mandate because the two are "inextricably linked."

Filing an amicus brief with the high court, AHIP cited several examples of states' failed efforts to implement health insurance market reforms without "the economic counterbalance of an individual mandate," reports the New York Times Prescriptions blog.

"All of that evidence underscores the very real likelihood that implementation of ACA's market reforms in the absence of the individual mandate would confound the legislation's central goal of increasing the availability of affordable health care coverage," AHIP wrote.

Therefore, the powerful lobby group wants the Supreme Court to fully address how much, if any, of the healthcare law should fall if it decides the coverage mandate is unconstitutional, The Hill's Healthwatch reports.

AHIP also urged the court to decide on the issue before the end of the current term so insurers can make the appropriate "critical decisions" to comply, the Times noted. "All of this paralyzing uncertainty--among health plans, employers, government regulators and others--underscores the vital need for a prompt and conclusive resolution of the constitutional challenge to the individual mandate," AHIP said.

"A scenario in which health plans must restructure every level of their business practices to achieve compliance and then, on the eve of implementation, throw the entire process into reverse, would impose crushing burdens on the insurance industry that would affect every level of the healthcare system nationwide," AHIP's brief states.

To learn more:
- read AHIP's amicus brief (.pdf)
- see the The Hill's Healthwatch article
- check out the New York Times Prescriptions blog post

Related Articles:
AHIP: ACOs should meet same standards as health plans
AHIP: No specific essential benefits needed for health exchanges
AHIP donated $86M to lobby against health reform law
Insurance giants fund Republicans in hopes of amending health reform law

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