A weekly compilation from Aetna

A weekly compilation from Aetna of health care-related developments in Washington, D.C.

Week of April 25, 2011

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it had rejected a request from the state of Virginia to fast-track its challenge of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was signed into law in March 2010. The Court did not disclose the reasons behind its decision. Since the 4th and 11th Circuits will be hearing arguments in the next two months on the constitutionality of the individual mandate, it is much more likely that once these two Circuits have spoken the Supreme Court will be more inclined to resolve the matter with some finality.

While the lawsuits filed by a number of states march on through the normal appeals process, some of the states are taking the unusual step of turning down money available to help fund implementation of the law. Oklahoma, for one, has turned down $54.6 million in demonstration grants to distance itself from the law. But Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter upped the ante last week when he issued an executive order prohibiting state agencies from implementing any aspect of the health reform law and from accepting federal funds tied to implementation of the law. While some question whether such outright defiance of the law would hold up as constitutional, the situation underscores the bitterness felt by some state leaders toward the law. In some cases, implementation can be expected to move at a snail’s pace, if at all, until the U.S. Supreme Court weighs in on the issue.