Ruling Striking Down the Affordable Care Act is Catastrophic for the Nation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 14, 2018

CONTACT: Kathy Melley, 617-791-0708

30 Million people could lose coverage and protections for pre-existing conditions could be gutted.

(BOSTON, MA) -- Statement of Diane Felicio, interim executive director of Community Catalyst, regarding the federal court ruling in Texas v. Azar in favor of repealing the entirety of the Affordable Care Act.

“Today’s misguided ruling by District Court Judge Reed O’Connor in Texas v. Azar striking down the entirety of the Affordable Care Act is a monumental step backwards for Americans’ health security. Despite the case’s questionable legal merits, the judge sided with 17 attorneys general and 3 governors who filed a politically motivated lawsuit in yet another attempt by ACA opponents to gut the law in the wake of Congress’ failure to repeal it.

“Judge O’Connor’s decision flies in the face of two Supreme Court rulings upholding the constitutionality of the ACA. If the ruling isn’t overturned by a higher court, the consequences will be profoundly tragic for the 20 million people who have gained access to health care under the ACA, the 52 million with pre-existing conditions like cancer, diabetes or asthma, and generations to come. Even the Trump administration, which sided with the plaintiffs and refused to defend the law in court, admitted to Judge O’Connor that repeal would cause immediate chaos and confusion in insurance marketplaces with consumer enrollment still underway throughout the country.

“The ACA has become foundational to our health care system, alongside Medicare and Medicaid, providing millions with high quality, affordable health care that was once out of reach to many. This decision and any subsequent higher court decision to uphold the ruling would be a return to the dark days that allowed insurance companies to deny care to people when they get sick or for a pre-existing condition, charge women or older adults more for their coverage, or impose annual or lifetime limits on coverage. Seniors would have to pay much more for prescription drugs, young adults under the age of 26 would no longer be able to join their parents’ health plans, and small businesses would be denied tax credits that make it affordable to provide health care for their employees.

“Just a few weeks ago people spoke clearly and decisively - they’ve had enough of endless efforts to undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions and rip away their health security. As the people across the country realize all that they could lose through this decision, there will be a massive outcry. Recent polling shows that 75 percent of the public supports the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

“Prominent legal scholars, including some who have not supported the ACA, have rightly questioned the merits of this case, and nearly every part of the health system -- physicians, hospitals, insurers and consumer advocates -- strongly oppose it. We hope the appeals court will agree and reverse this decision based on its weak legal grounding and the grave harm overturning the ACA would cause to people across the country.”

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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, statehouses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org. Follow us on Twitter @HealthPolicyHub.

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