On Monday, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. She will now be seated on the high court in time to participate in the November 10 oral arguments for California v. Texas, a case that could decide the fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), its coverage provisions, and all of the consumer protections it provides. It is well established that Justice Barrett has a history of opposing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and she has criticized two prior Supreme Court decisions upholding its constitutionality. Justice Barrett’s appointment further puts at grave risk high-quality, affordable health coverage for millions of people across the nation, including more than 135 million people with pre-existing conditions.
Community Catalyst has highlighted what is at stake for various populationsif the ACA is repealed. Our latest fact sheet, “The Affordable Care Act’s Impact on Children: What’s at Stake for Children if it Goes Away?” examines how this decision could impact children specifically.
Here are the main takeaways from the fact sheet:
- The ACA has significantly improved children’s access to health care. According to the Urban Institute, the ACA has reduced the children’s uninsurance rate by 40 percent between 2013 and 2016, with a historic low of 4.3 percent in 2016.
- The ACA has reduced disparities between children of color and white children. For example, Latinx children have particularly benefited from the increased access afforded by the ACA. Before the ACA, Latinx children had the highest levels of uninsurance, and due to the ACA, have experienced the largest drop in uninsurance.
- Trump’s efforts to undermine health care programs and target immigrant families have already reversed much of the progress made by the ACA. The number of uninsured children increased by 370,000 between 2016 and 2018. Policies such as the Trump Administration’s Public Charge Rule have caused many immigrant families to become fearful of seeking out public insurance options for their children. A full repeal of the ACA would significantly hinder efforts to restore access to care for these families.
- The repeal of the ACA in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic recession will likely have harmful short-term and long-term effects on children’s health. The elimination of coverage and consumer protections for so many children and families would only compound the inequities this pandemic has laid bare.
As the Supreme Court prepares for oral arguments in early November, let’s make it clear that the progress we’ve made in improving health and access to care for children must not be lost. It becomes increasingly important to amplify the stories of children and families who depend on the ACA and the consumer protections it provides through local and national media outlets, on social media platforms and in all spaces where health care issues are discussed. The Supreme Court does not make decisions in a vacuum and making these stories visible, along with the potential consequences to real people’s lives if the Court strikes down the ACA, is paramount.
Click here to read our fact sheet: The Affordable Care Act’s Impact on Children: What’s at Stake for Children if it Goes Away?