FOR IMMEDIATE RELASE
November 10, 2020
CONTACT: Kathy Melley, (617) 91-0708
Health Care and Pre-Existing Condition Protections of Millions Are at Stake
(BOSTON, MA) — Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in California v. Texas, a politically-charged lawsuit filed by 17 Republican attorneys general and one governor, with support from the Trump administration, which threatens to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and put the health security of all people in America in jeopardy. Twenty-one 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 high court strikes down the law, it would threaten critical gains toward health equity.
Statement of Emily Stewart, executive director of Community Catalyst, regarding today’s oral arguments in California v. Texas before the U.S. Supreme Court.
“A Supreme Court ruling overturning the ACA would inflict tremendous harm on people across our country, especially amid a public health crisis that has cost countless lives and the loss of millions of jobs. Not only has the ACA played a critical role in helping people gain access to care during the pandemic, it was created to be there for people in times like these. If it is struck down, the impact will be harsh and swift, particularly for Black and Brown people, who are more likely to count on ACA coverage due to unfair obstacles to economic security and employer-sponsored coverage.
“It’s outrageous that people in our country still have to live with fear about whether or not they can afford health care if they get sick. The ACA is an historic achievement, marking the biggest expansion in health coverage and care in decades. Not only did the law expand coverage, it established critical protections for people with pre-existing conditions, LGBTQ+ people, and women.
“It’s past time to put to rest the cruel attempts to overturn this essential law. We hope the Court will once again uphold the ACA and reject the latest efforts of the outgoing Trump administration and its allies to strip health care from millions. People’s lives depend on it.”
The Affordable Care Act has been a driving force behind the drop in adult uninsured rates for Black and Brown people and in expanding access to care for millions of LGBTQ+ individuals. The impact of overturning the ACA would be devastating. More than 20 million people could lose their health coverage, and 135 million people with pre-existing health conditions like cancer, diabetes, and COVID-19 could be denied coverage or saddled with punishing insurance premiums. With the law overturned, insurers could impose annual and lifetime coverage limits that would leave people simultaneously facing life-threatening illnesses and catastrophic financial losses.
Important protections for people who access reproductive health services, including no co-pay birth control coverage, would be gone if the ACA is overturned. In addition, anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people, particularly transgender individuals, would be rolled back. Indeed, the ACA has been a lifeline for millions of LGBTQ+ individuals who too often have found themselves cut off from health care coverage and critical services due to widespread anti-LGBTQ+ policies and stigma. People could also lose crucial benefits for treatment of substance use disorders and mental health and pregnancy and post-partum care. 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.
One of the cruelest results would be the loss of health coverage for more than 15 million people in 37 states who gained access to health care following the expansion of Medicaid, including people who may have lost a job, work seasonal or irregular hours, or care for a sick loved one. Medicaid expansion has proven critical to health care access during the pandemic, as many adults working low-wage jobs are essential workers, such as grocery store employees or home care workers who are disproportionately people of color.
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.