Donald Verrilli was the solicitor general who defended Obamacare before the Supreme Court repeatedly. Now he is a high-priced private attorney who is representing the hospital lobby before the Supreme Court. It’s a perfect fit.
Verrilli on Tuesday argued before the Supreme Court in American Hospital Association v. Becerra. Verrilli’s client, the American Hospital Association, is the largest hospital lobby in the country.
Some hospitals that serve low-income clientele make a lot of money by buying some prescription drugs at a discount, which was created by federal law, and then charging full prices to Medicare or insurance companies. The Trump administration decided to cut into those hefty margins by cutting Medicare payments for drugs to these hospitals.
The American Hospital Association is suing to overturn that cost-savings policy, which was admittedly legally dubious, and Obamacare champion Verrilli is the AHA’s attorney at the Supreme Court.
While now Verrilli is the plaintiff and is arguing against the government, this isn’t much of a turnabout for the Democratic lawyer. He has always been on the side of the hospitals.
Verrilli was Obamcare’s lawyer, and Obamacare was always a gift to hospitals, often to the detriment of the public. That’s why the AHA opposed efforts to repeal Obamacare. It’s also why the big hospitals were always on Verrilli’s side in defending Obamacare in court.
As liberal writer Stephanie Mencimer put it in Mother Jones, a magazine that typically considers corporate influence in politics to be detrimental, “Obamacare is working. There’s no better evidence of this than a brief filed on behalf of the government in King by the Hospital Corporation of America, better known as HCA, the largest health care provider in the country.”
In 2010, when Democrats passed Obamacare, the hospitals were on board, as well. Today, the friends of Obamacare have Obamacare’s lawyer arguing to keep the big profits flowing.