He wasn’t sur­prised by ACA rul­ing,

Modern Healthcare - - CONTENTS -

In the na­tion’s wonki­est par­lor game this sum­mer—pre­dict­ing what the U.S. Supreme Court would do with the health­care re­form law— Nashville law pro­fes­sor and health pol­icy scholar James Blum­stein ap­pears to have won.

Out­liers has ten­ta­cles spread far and wide in the le­gal and po­lit­i­cal community, and we’re aware of no one other than Blum­stein who cor­rectly pre­dicted what the court would do. If we had a tro­phy, we’d be send­ing it his way.

Blum­stein is a pro­fes­sor at Van­der­bilt Law School and di­rec­tor of the Van­der­bilt Health Pol­icy Cen­ter in Nashville. He is the au­thor of Health Care Law and Pol­icy (now in its sec­ond edition), and even has a three-para­graph bio on Wikipedia.

Be­fore the court had even ac­cepted the case for oral ar­gu­ments, he pre­dicted in April 2011 dur­ing a vir­tual sum­mit or­ga­nized by the Coun­cil of State Gov­ern­ments that the in­di­vid­ual man­date would even­tu­ally be up­held by the Supreme Court.

Blum­stein ar­gued, cor­rectly, that al­though the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s main con­sti­tu­tional ar­gu­ment for the man­date might have been flawed, the re­quire­ment would still be up­held.

“I’ve not been per­suaded by opin­ion that fed­eral gov­ern­ment should not be al­lowed to as­sert it is a tax,” Blum­stein said, ac­cord­ing to an April 2011 story on the coun­cil’s web­site. “But you have to have enough po­lit­i­cal gump­tion to de­fend it in court as a tax.”

The ad­min­is­tra­tion did just that, and won on those grounds. Blum­stein also pre­dicted what the court would do on the Med­i­caid ques­tion—per­haps more sur­pris­ing, given that no court, not even the most crit­i­cal fed­eral judge in Pen­sacola, Fla., had struck down any as­pect of the re­form law’s plan to ex­pand Med­i­caid to cover the unin­sured.

Blum­stein told Mod­ern Health­care in Novem­ber 2011 that the Med­i­caid is­sue was “the most likely to be suc­cess­ful” for the law’s op­po­nents. “I think it’s the most im­por­tant is­sue in the case, and it’s the sleeper is­sue. It gets no at­ten­tion in the me­dia,” he told us at the time.

Well, if it’s any con­so­la­tion, it’s get­ting plenty of at­ten­tion now.


Many tried, but only Blum­stein seems to come out on top in the derby to pre­dict the fate of the ACA.

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