As the date for the Supreme Court to hear arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act draws near, the Court has agreed to release same-day audio recordings of oral arguments. While a number of news outfits were pushing for permission to televise the proceedings, the Court denied that request. On Friday, the Supreme Court said it expected audio of the morning arguments on March 26, 27 and 28 would be posted on its website by 2 p.m. Afternoon arguments are scheduled as well on March 28, and the audio should be posted by 4 p.m. that afternoon. The Court said it also will expedite the release of transcripts following the health-care arguments.
With the two year anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act right around the corner, implementation of the Affordable Care Act is well under way. Although New York has begun implementing a number of the Affordable Care Act’s initiatives, the status of New York’s Health Benefit Exchange is not settled. Governor Cuomo included the exchange bill in his executive budget proposal which the Assembly supported in their one-house budget bills. However, the Senate continues to oppose the legislation. Rather than incorporating the legislation into their one-house budget bills, the Senate drafted stand-alone legislation to study whether New York should operate its own exchange or participate in a regional exchange. Health care advocates have been lobbying intensely over the past few weeks to ensure the exchange legislation is included in the final budget. Advocates have been touting the findings of an Urban Institute report issued last week which highlights the value of an exchange in New York. The report estimated that if the Affordable Care Act had been fully implemented in 2011, the state would have saved $2.3 billion that year alone. The report is available at www.healthcarereform.ny.gov.
-Jaime Venditti, 3/19/12