Plan for Supreme Court’s June health law decision now

Many Americans focused this week on three days of presentations before the U.S. Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — a.k.a. health-care reform and Obamacare.

Just as the esteemed and high-powered attorneys advocating their cases before the justices prepared and practiced their arguments for months, both sides of this debate should prepare now for the crisis that will arrive with the court’s decision.

As I understand it, there are three possible decisions: Uphold; strike down; or postpone [until 2015 a review because no “tax” has yet been paid under the act].

If you are the Obama administration’s domestic health-care team, you’re preparing now for losing when the decision arrives in late June. You’re already formulating new legislation to go to Congress making health-care reform viable and constitutional.

If you are a state attorney general fighting to overturn this law, prepare your next strategy for when you lose.

And if you are a crisis manager in the health-care industry or involved with any of the groups mentioned above — or a candidate running for president or Congress in November — figure out your response now.

What are the messages you want to convey? Who is your best spokesperson? Should you jump on the decision immediately, or hold back and offer calm perspective? What social media campaign can you plan now to maximize your clout in June? What are your next steps win and lose?

If you win, the same planning and approach is needed. Do you gloat? Should you take a victory lap? Can you be gracious? Will one tack or the other win you more votes? What’s the opposition doing next? What can you do to block or thwart that?

June will be here fast. Don’t wait and hope. Don’t cobble a plan together the last week of the court’s 2012 session when you know the decision has to come. Move now. Think ahead.


About steveoncrisis

The content is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It comes from Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and as managing editor and editorial page editor at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs at Eric Mower and Associates, one of the nation's largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agency with six offices in the Northeast and Southeast.
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