With a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, the future of our health care is at stake. On November 10, 2020 — one week after the election — the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in California v. Texas, a case that, if successful, would overturn the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA), ending its protections for 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions and ripping health care away from more than 20 million Americans, all during a raging pandemic. The danger of letting Donald Trump fill the Supreme Court vacancy cannot be overstated. Now, more than ever, Americans’ health care is on the ballot.
If the Affordable Care Act is struck down:
- GONE: Protections for 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. The uninsured rate will increase by 65 percent.
- GONE: Medicaid expansion, which covers more than 15 million people.
- GONE: Nearly 12 million seniors will have to pay more for prescription drugs because the Medicare ‘donut hole’ will be reopened.
- GONE: 2.3 million adult children will no longer be able to stay on their parents’ insurance.
- GONE: Insurance companies will be able to charge women 50 percent more than men.
- GONE: Financial assistance that helps 9 million people purchase health care in the marketplace.
- GONE: Key support for rural hospitals.
- GONE: Ban on insurance companies having lifetime caps on coverage.
- GONE: Requirements that insurance companies cover prescription drugs and maternity care.
- GONE: 60 million Medicare beneficiaries will face higher costs and disruptions to their medical care.
Thanks To The Republican Lawsuit, More Than 20 Million People Could Lose Their Coverage
- 20 million people could lose coverage. The Center for American Progress estimates more than 20 million people could lose coverage during an ever-worsening global pandemic if the ACA is overturned.
- The uninsured rate would increase by at least 65 percent. According to pre-pandemic estimates from the Urban Institute, the number of uninsured Americans would increase from 30.4 million to 50.3 million without the ACA, representing a 65 percent increase in the uninsured rate. As the uninsured rate swells, so will the amount of uncompensated care, which Urban predicts will grow by at least 82 percent.
- States would lose important federal health care funding — an estimated reduction of $135 billion in the first year. The Urban Institute estimates that a full repeal of the ACA would reduce federal spending on Medicaid/CHIP care and Marketplace subsidies by $135 billion, or 34.6 percent in the first year.
- Millions of children could lose their coverage. Almost three million children nationwide gained coverage thanks to the ACA. If the law is overturned, many of these children will lose their insurance.
- The Black uninsured rate would spike to 20 percent. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the ACA helped lower the uninsured rate for nonelderly African Americans by more than one third between 2013 and 2016 from 18.9 percent to 11.7 percent. Without the ACA, the uninsured rate for black Americans would spike to 20 percent.
- 5.4 million Latinos would lose coverage. The percentage of people gaining health insurance under the ACA was higher for Latinos than for any other racial or ethnic group in the country. According to a study from Families USA, 5.4 million Latinos would lose coverage if the lawsuit succeeds in overturning the ACA.
Republicans Want To Put Insurance Companies Back In Charge, Ending Protections For The 135 Million People With A Pre-Existing Condition
- According to a recent analysis by the Center for American Progress, roughly half of nonelderly Americans, or as many as 135 million people, have a pre-existing condition. This includes:
- 44 million people who have high blood pressure
- 45 million people who have behavioral health disorders
- 44 million people who have high cholesterol
- 34 million people who have asthma and chronic lung disease
- 34 million people who have osteoarthritis and other joint disorders
- More than 17 million children, 68 million women, and 32 million people aged 55-64 have a pre-existing condition.
Republicans Want To Give Insurance Companies The Power To Deny Or Drop Coverage Because Of A Pre-Existing Condition
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Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies routinely denied people coverage because of a pre-existing condition or canceled coverage when a person got sick. Now insurance companies could have the license to do this again.
- A 2010 congressional report found that the top four health insurance companies denied coverage to one in seven consumers on the individual market over a three year period.
- A 2009 congressional report found that some of the largest insurance companies had retroactively canceled coverage for 20,000 people over the previous five year period.
- The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 54 million people, or 27% of adults aged 18 to 64, have a condition that would have been grounds for coverage denial in the pre-ACA marketplace.
- An analysis by Avalere finds that “102 million individuals, not enrolled in major public programs like Medicaid or Medicare, have a pre-existing medical condition and could therefore face higher premiums or significant out-of-pocket costs” if the Trump-GOP lawsuit is successful.
Coronavirus Could Now Be Considered A Pre-Existing Condition. Without the ACA, millions of Americans who have contracted the coronavirus would likely be deemed as having a pre-existing condition and be at the mercy of their insurance companies who could refuse to pay for needed care. Because of Donald Trump’s failure to respond to the coronavirus crisis, the number of Americans with coronavirus is only increasing, with hundreds of thousands of cases still being reported every week.
Republicans Want To Give Insurance Companies The Power To Charge You More, While Their Profits Soar
- 138 Million Americans Could Once Again Have To Pay For Preventive Care. Because of the ACA, health plans must cover preventive services — like flu shots, cancer screenings, contraception, and mammograms – at no cost to consumers. This includes nearly 138 million Americans, most of whom have employer coverage.
- Premium Surcharges Could Once Again Be In The Six Figures. Thanks to the Republican lawsuit, insurance companies could once again charge people more because of a pre-existing condition. The House-passed repeal bill had a similar provision, and an analysis by the Center for American Progress found that insurers could charge up to $4,270 more for asthma, $17,060 more for pregnancy, $26,180 more for rheumatoid arthritis and $140,510 more for metastatic cancer.
- Women Could Be Charged More Than Men For The Same Coverage. Prior to the ACA, women were often charged premiums on the nongroup market of up to 50 percent higher than they charged men for the same coverage.
- People Over The Age of 50 Would Face A $4,000 “Age Tax.” Thanks to the Republican lawsuit, insurance companies could charge people over 50 more than younger people. The Affordable Care Act limited the amount older people could be charged to three times more than younger people. If insurers were to charge five times more, as was proposed in the Republican repeal bills, that would add an average “age tax” of $4,124 for a 60-year-old in the individual market, according to the AARP.
- Nine Million People In The Marketplaces Would Pay More For Coverage. If the ACA is overturned, consumers would no longer have access to tax credits that help them pay their marketplace premiums, meaning roughly nine million people who receive these tax credits to pay for coverage would have to pay more.
- Seniors Would Have To Pay More For Prescription Drugs. Thanks to the Republican lawsuit, seniors would have to pay more for prescription drugs because the Medicare “donut” hole would be reopened. From 2010 to 2016, “More than 11.8 million Medicare beneficiaries have received discounts over $26.8 billion on prescription drugs – an average of $2,272 per beneficiary,” according to a January 2017 Centers on Medicare and Medicaid Services report.
- 60 Million Medicare Beneficiaries Could Face Higher Costs. In addition to paying more for preventive care and prescription drugs, Medicare beneficiaries could face higher premiums without the cost-saving measures implemented under the ACA. If the Republican lawsuit is successful, seniors would also face less coordinated care.
Republicans Want To Give Insurance Companies The Power To Limit The Care You Get, Even If You Have Insurance Through Your Employer
- Insurers Could Reinstate Lifetime and Annual Limits On 109 Million Privately Insured Americans. Repealing the Affordable Care Act means insurance companies would be able to impose annual and lifetime limits on coverage for those insured through their employer or on the individual market. In 2009, nearly 6 in 10 (59%) covered workers’ employer-sponsored health plans had a lifetime limit, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
- Insurance Companies Would Not Have to Provide the Coverage You Need. The Affordable Care Act made comprehensive coverage more available by requiring insurance companies to include “essential health benefits” in their plans, such as maternity care, hospitalization, substance abuse care and prescription drug coverage. Before the ACA, people had to pay extra for separate coverage for these benefits. For example, in 2013, 75 percent of non-group plans did not cover maternity care, 45 percent did not cover substance abuse disorder services, and 38 percent did not cover mental health services. Six percent did not even cover generic drugs.
- Large Employers Could Choose to Follow Any State’s Guidance, Enabling Them Put Annual and Lifetime Limits on Their Employees’ Health Care. Without the ACA’s definition of essential health benefits (EHB), states could eliminate them altogether. Large employers could choose to apply any state’s standard, making state regulations essentially meaningless. Because the prohibition on annual and lifetime limits only applies to essential health benefits, this change would allow employers to reinstate annual and lifetime limits on their employees’ coverage.
Republicans Want To End Medicaid Expansion
- More Than 15 Million People Enrolled Through Medicaid Expansion Would Lose Coverage. Before the coronavirus crisis, roughly 15 million people were enrolled through Medicaid expansion.
- Medicaid Plays A Critical Role In The Coronavirus Response. An estimated 12 million people have lost their employer-sponsored coverage as a result of the pandemic, and states are reporting steep increases in Medicaid enrollment. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that roughly 6 million people enrolled in Medicaid between February and July 2020.
- Access To Treatment Would Be In Jeopardy For 800,000 People With Opioid Use Disorder. Roughly four in 10, or 800,000 people with an opioid use disorder are enrolled in Medicaid. Many became eligible through Medicaid expansion.
- Key Support For Rural Hospitals Would Disappear, with state spending on Medicaid/CHIP falling by $9.6 billion.