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Supreme Court rules against Vermont health care law

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Tuesday in Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company [SCOTUSblog materials] against a 2005 Vermont health care law that required health insurance providers to release data regarding the amount paid on medical claims, siding with Liberty Mutual Insurance Company [corporate website]. In a 6-2 decision, the court said that the law did not apply [Reuters report] to self-funded insurance plans that are usually used by large companies. The court also found that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) [materials] preempts the Vermont law. Justice Anthony Kennedy stated in the majority opinion, "The fact that reporting is a principal and essential feature of ERISA demonstrates that Congress intended to pre-empt state reporting laws like Vermont's." This ruling will most likely affect similar laws in 17 other states.

Health care related issues have generated significant legal controversy in the US. Last month the US House of Representatives failed [JURIST report] to garner enough votes to override the president's veto of the Restoring Americans' Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015, the most recent legislative effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and defund Planned Parenthood. President Barack Obama had originally vetoed [JURIST report] the bill in January. In December District Judge Edward Chen for the Northern District of California ruled [JURIST report] that California's policy for reimbursing out-of-state hospitals that care for California Medicaid (Medi-Cal) patients is unconstitutional.

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