Post Roe v. Wade
Last week, in a 6–3 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional guarantees it provided and determining that states are the venue to regulate abortion. How this decision will impact health policymaking will play out in the months and years to come.
We are in uncharted territory on the legislative front. Congress has operated under a status quo that allowed it to legislate while keeping abortion policy curtailed. In the short term, the Supreme Court’s ruling should not prevent current bipartisan legislation from moving forward. Congress needs to get several items done. For example, Congress still must pass the User Fee Acts by August 1, 2022, or the US Food and Drug Administration will need to send furlough or layoff notices to staff. Congress is also moving forward with appropriation bills. The House Appropriations Full Committee will mark-up the Labor, HHS and Education appropriations bill on Thursday. Congress also is working to pass a mental health package. The House already passed a mental health package, and we continue to wait for proposals to come together in the Senate. We expect mental health to be a lame duck activity.
We expect the Administration to use any and all regulatory avenues to provide access to abortion services in the short and long term. Ultimately, those avenues may be limited and subject to legal challenges, but the Administration will not react passively. At the same time, the Administration will have to pursue its must-do items, such as releasing the Medicare payment rules in the coming weeks.
The next test for this issue will be the upcoming mid-term elections, as both sides seek to leverage the Supreme Court’s decision to drive turnout. Again, we expect this to play out in the months and years to come.