The U.S. Supreme Court has announced the cases it will take up this fall and 340B will be on the plate. The court recently posted its hearings schedule for the months of October through December and will hear oral arguments in the clash between hospitals and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services over steep Medicare Part B cuts on November 30th.
If you had hoped to attend the arguments, you are out of luck. The court announced recently that it will hear all oral arguments scheduled for the October, November, and December sessions in the courtroom. However, the Supreme Court added: “Courtroom access will be limited to the Justices, essential Court personnel, counsel in the scheduled cases, and journalists with full-time press credentials issued by the Supreme Court. Out of concern for the health and safety of the public and Supreme Court employees, the Courtroom sessions will not be open to the public. The Court will continue to closely monitor public health guidance in determining plans.”
On the positive side, the court anticipates providing a live audio feed of the oral arguments. “Additional details regarding the live audio feed will be provided in the coming weeks”, according the court. 340B Report will closely cover the hearing and report back to you.
The high court surprised most legal observers when it announced in July that it agreed to hear the case, American Hospital Association et. al. v. Xavier Becerra. The hospital sector has been in a legal battle over the issue since 2018, when nearly 30% cuts in Part B-related 340B drug reimbursements began under the Trump administration. The Supreme Court agreed to intervene after a 2-1 decision in support of the cuts was handed down by the U.S. District of Columbia (DC) Court of Appeals in July 2020.
A decision by the Supreme Court is not expected until sometime in the spring of 2022. This will be months after the Biden administration determines whether to retain the controversial cuts. This summer, the administration surprised 340B hospitals when it proposed to keep the cuts in the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ proposed 2022 outpatient prospective payment rule. Comments from 340B hospitals and other stakeholders were due on Friday, September 17th and we will be reporting on the feedback in Thursday’s issue.