King v. Burwell: U-M experts available

June 25, 2015
Written By:
Laurel Thomas


The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that health insurance subsidies provided by the federal government under the Affordable Care Act are legal. The 6-3 vote means that the federal government can continue to lower the cost of health insurance for millions of Americans in the 34 states that have not established exchanges.

A key component of the act, exchanges are essentially marketplaces that allow small businesses and individuals to buy health insurance more affordably. Not all states set up exchanges, requiring the federal government to do so.

The legal question before the court concerned language in the ACA that allows the subsidies under state exchanges but did not specifically authorize them under federal exchanges. The University of Michigan has a number of experts in law and public health policy who can offer reaction to the decision.


Dr. John Ayanian, director of the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, the Alice Hamilton Professor of Internal Medicine, and professor of public health and public policy, is a longtime researcher on how access to health insurance affects individuals’ access to health care, the quality of care they receive and their health outcomes. He focuses especially on the impact of insurance on disparities among members of different racial/ethnic groups.

Contact: (via Kara Gavin) 734-764-2220, [email protected]. Bio:


Tom Buchmueller, the Waldo O. Hildebrand Professor of Risk Management and Insurance and professor of health management and policy, is an expert on the economics of health insurance and related public policy issues. His recent work has examined the relationship between employer-sponsored insurance and labor market outcomes, interactions between the public sector and private insurance markets, and consumer demand for health insurance.

Contact: 734-764-5933, [email protected]. Bio:


Dr. A. Mark Fendrick, professor of internal medicine and health management and policy and co-director of the Center for Value-Based Insurance Design, is an authority on the influence of out-of-pocket cost on individuals’ health behaviors.

Contact: 734-647-9688, [email protected]. Bio:


Kyle Grazier, the Richard Carl Jelinek Professor of Health Services Management and Policy and chair of the Department of Health Management and Policy, is an expert on health care finance and delivery, with a special emphasis on mental health and addiction services, costs, and quality of care. Her work also concerns insurance and payment systems and benefits design.

Contact: 734-936-1222, [email protected]. Bio:


Richard Hirth, professor and associate chair of health management and policy and professor of internal medicine, conducts research on the role of not-for-profit providers in health care markets and on health insurance, including the ACA. A recent study addressed health care spending by those 65 and under, the group most targeted by Obamacare.

Contact: [email protected]. Bio:


Kathleen Potempa, professor and dean of the School of Nursing, can discuss how the ACA supports population health and advances access to care. Potempa is a nationally known expert on health care workforce issues and consults with organizations such as the National Institutes of Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Contact: 734-764-7185, [email protected]. Bio:


Marianne Udow-Phillips, a former executive at a large health plan and a lecturer at the School of Public Health, directs the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation, a nonprofit partnership between the U-M Health System and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. She can discuss public and private health insurance markets and coverage, and what will likely happen in the insurance markets as a result of the ruling.

Contact: 734-998-7555, [email protected]. Bio:

Peter Jacobson, director for the Center for Law, Ethics and Health and professor of health law and policy at the U-M School of Public Health, can discuss any of the legal or policy implications of health reform. His research focuses on the relationship between law and health care delivery, law and public health systems, public health ethics, and health care safety net services.

Contact: (via Terri Mellow) 734-764-8094, [email protected]. Bio:



Samuel Bagenstos, the Frank G. Millard Professor of Law, specializes in civil rights law, public law and litigation. He remains an active appellate and Supreme Court litigator in civil rights and federalism cases.

Contact: 734-647-7584, [email protected]. Bio:


Nicholas Bagley, assistant professor of law, teaches and writes in the areas of administrative law, regulatory theory and health law. He has written extensively on the King v. Burwell case in the literature and popular media.

Contact: 734-615-7049, [email protected]. Bio:


NOTE: In addition to their faculty appointments, all of these individuals are members of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, which brings together more than 460 U-M faculty who study all aspects of health care and health policy.