Docs disagree on impact of Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch on healthcare

Supreme Court
Doctors disagree about whether Supreme Court nominee Neil M. Gorsuch will have an impact on healthcare issues.

If confirmed, will the appointment of conservative Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to the vacant seat on the Supreme Court matter when it comes to the future of healthcare?

Doctors have different opinions about whether Gorsuch, nominated by President Donald Trump earlier this month, will have an impact on physicians and the healthcare industry, according to Medical Economics.

While it depends what cases come before the Supreme Court, Peter Angood, M.D., CEO and president of the American Association for Physician Leadership, said if he is confirmed, Gorsuch could help decide sensitive issues that have implications for healthcare. Those include abortion rights, physician-assisted suicide, validity of living wills and the methods for administering the death penalty, he said.

Gorsuch has been nominated to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, who was also a conservative. So even though Gorsuch hasn’t ruled on abortion-related cases, pediatrician Joel D. Selanikio, M.D., assistant professor at Georgetown University, said it is unlikely his appointment would upset the balance on the court that could lead to overturning Roe vs. Wade.

The court could rule on decisions that emerge from the Affordable Care Act repeal and replace efforts. But Bruce Ruben, M.D., medical director of Encompass HealthCare and Wound Medicine, thinks Gorsuch and the Supreme Court will have little impact on healthcare, which is managed by third party contracts.

One issue where Gorsuch is clearly on the record is his opposition to physician-assisted suicide. He wrote a book making it clear he favors laws that ban assisted death and euthanasia, a position that has raised concerns among proponents of aid-in-dying.