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Medicare Disruptions Seen If Health Law Is Struck

Alex Wong/Getty Images

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration has quietly told the courts that tossing out the president’s health care overhaul would have major unintended consequences for Medicare’s payment systems, which handle 100 million monthly claims from hospitals and other providers.

In papers filed with the Supreme Court, administration lawyers have warned of “extraordinary disruption” if Medicare is forced to unwind countless transactions based on payment changes required by the Affordable Care Act.

Last year, the Justice Department told a lower court that reversing the Medicare payment changes “would impose staggering administrative burdens” and “could cause major delays and errors” in payment.

Former Medicare administrators disagree on the potential for major disruptions.

Medicare got little notice during recent Supreme Court arguments, but payment problems could have huge political repercussions in an election year.

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