Health Care Coverage and Pre-Existing Condition Protections for Millions Are at Risk in Texas v. United States Circuit Court Appeal

(BOSTON) -- Statement of Michael Miller, director of strategic policy at Community Catalyst, regarding today’s oral arguments before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Texas v. United States lawsuit that threatens to overturn the Affordable Care Act

“Today, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in Texas v. United States, a politically-charged lawsuit filed by Republican governors and attorneys general, with support from the Trump administration, which threatens to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and put the health security of all Americans in jeopardy. Twenty states, led by Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D-California), the District of Columbia, and the U.S. House of Representatives have intervened to defend the law.

“If the lower court ruling is upheld, the results would be catastrophic. More than 20 million people could lose their health care coverage, and 130 million people with pre-existing health conditions like cancer, asthma and diabetes could be denied coverage or saddled with punishing insurance premiums. Older adults could see their prescription drug costs rise, young adults under the age of 26 would no longer be able to stay on their parents’ insurance, and, once again, women could be charged more than men for their coverage. Insurers could impose annual and lifetime coverage limits that would leave people simultaneously facing life-threatening illnesses and catastrophic financial losses.

“In the lead up to today’s arguments, the Fifth Circuit Court has questioned whether or not the House of Representatives and attorneys general opposing the lower court’s decision have standing to intervene. It’s clear the intervening states should have standing, given all they could lose if the lower district court decision is upheld including more than $650 billion in lost federal health care funds. These states would also see a spike in their numbers of uninsured, including 12.8 million people nationwide who have gained coverage through Medicaid expansion, and millions more who would be affected by an end to pre-existing condition protections. Further, without the ACA’s key support for rural hospitals, the demand for uncompensated care across the intervening states would increase by $26.5 billion, leaving state and local governments or health care providers to either pick up the bill or let people go without the care they need.

“A ‘win’ for the plaintiffs in this case is a big loss for their constituents, who by solid majorities support protections for pre-existing conditions and do not want to see the courts overturn the ACA. The Fifth Circuit Court must weigh not only the prior U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of the ACA, but also the grave harm overturning the law would inflict across the nation.

“We are grateful to attorneys general from both parties who are working to defend and protect our health care. We remain confident the Court will reject the spurious arguments advanced by the plaintiffs and see this case for what it is – a politically motivated distraction – and uphold the ACA. The lives of millions of people hang in the balance.”

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About Community Catalyst

Community Catalyst is a national, non-profit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1998 with the belief that affordable, quality health care should be accessible to everyone. We work in partnership with national, state and local organizations, policymakers, and philanthropic foundations to ensure consumer interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and the health system are made: in communities, courtrooms, statehouses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org. Follow us on Twitter @healthpolicyhub.

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