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    What a Gorsuch Supreme Court appointment could mean to healthcare

    In early February, President Donald Trump nominated ultra-conservative Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last year, and his choice sparked much debate.

     

    Further reading: The complicated puzzle of moving past Obamacare

     

    Many in the healthcare realm believe his appointment will have a huge affect on both doctors and the industry going forward.

    Peter Angood, MD, and CEO and president of the American Association for Physician Leaders, says that while Gorsuch will clearly bring a strongly conservative approach to SCOTUS, he is a highly intelligent and articulate judge who has a demonstrated track-record of tackling complex and contentious issues.

    “For healthcare and the influence of SCOTUS, this appointment may bring deeper levels of debate on issues that are still very much sensitive in our society—abortion rights, right-to-die, assisted suicide, validity of living wills and even the current controversy surrounding the methods for administering the death penalty,” he says.

    Pediatrician Joel D. Selanikio, MD, assistant professor at Georgetown University, says that since Gorsuch hasn’t ruled on abortion-related cases in the past, it’s really impossible to guess how he’d rule on these cases moving forward.

     

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    “And even if he was skeptical of the constitutional basis to an abortion right, since he’s replacing Scalia (another conservative), I don’t see how that would affect the balance, so I’m doubtful Roe vs. Wade would/could be overturned,” he says in an email.  “One thing he has weighed in on is the Hobby Lobby case where he strongly supported the right of a corporation to express its religious beliefs by not providing contraception on employee health plans. With the current replace/repair/rewrite of Obamacare, all this is up in the air, and I think a lot of conservatives—and not just religious ones—support his position.”

    Next: Impact on PCPs

    Keith Loria
    Keith Loria is a contributing writer to Medical Economics.

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