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COVERAGE: The American Health Care System Hangs in the Balance as Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in California v. Texas

By November 9, 2020No Comments

Tomorrow, November 10, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in California v. Texas, the Trump-Republican lawsuit to completely dismantle the Affordable Care Act. If successful, the lawsuit would terminate the health care law in its entirety and rip coverage from more than 20 million Americans and leave 135 million people with pre-existing conditions without the protections they rely on for insurance. The Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the case after a decade of Republican health care sabotage and in the middle of the worst public health crisis our country has faced in over a century. The fate of the ACA and the American health care system hang in the balance as the court considers the case. Here is how media describes the potential chaos:


New York Times: The Affordable Care Act Faces Another Supreme Court Test. “Eight years ago, the Affordable Care Act barely survived its first encounter with the Supreme Court. On Tuesday, a significantly more conservative court will hear arguments in a case brought by Republican state officials, backed by the Trump administration, seeking to destroy it. At stake are health insurance for millions of people, protections for pre-existing conditions for millions more and the fate of President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement, a law that has become woven into the fabric of the health care system in ways big and small.” [New York Times, 11/8/20

  • New York Times: To Win, Republican Challengers “Would Have To Persuade The Justices That The Law, Which Is Popular And Whose Unraveling Could Cause Chaos In The Health Care System, Should Be Wiped Out…” “On the surface, events since the first decision would seem to place the health care law in real peril… But there are reasons to think the law, or at least most of it, may survive. To win, the Republican challengers would have to run the table on three separate legal arguments. And they would have to persuade the justices that the law, which is popular and whose unraveling could cause chaos in the health care system, should be wiped out based on a highly formalistic argument. During a pandemic. [New York Times, 11/8/20

Washington Post: The Affordable Care Act Returns To The Supreme Court In The Shadow Of A Pandemic. “When the Supreme Court hears a case Tuesday that could abolish the Affordable Care Act, the stakes will be higher than ever, coming amid a historic health and economic crisis that has deprived millions of Americans of insurance and cast a neon light on health care’s importance.” [Washington Post, 11/7/20

  • Washington Post: Overturning the ACA “Would Upend The Health-Care System In Ways That Touch Most People In The United States.” “A decision this term to strike down the entire ACA — unlike when justices upheld the law on different grounds in 2012 and 2015 — would upend the health-care system in ways that touch most people in the United States. If the high court, with a newly strengthened conservative majority, were to overturn the law following this week’s oral arguments, health insurance would collapse for at least 23 million Americans. Nearly 11 million would lose coverage through marketplaces created under the ACA to sell private health plans, usually with federal subsidies, to people who cannot get affordable benefits through a job. And about 12 million, insured because of Medicaid expansions in all but a dozen states, could find that coverage disappear.” [Washington Post, 11/7/20
  • Washington Post: Overturning The Law “Carries Particularly Intensity At This Moment” As The Nation Continues To Battle The Coronavirus Pandemic. “But the renewed possibility that the high court could find the sprawling law unconstitutional carries particular intensity at this moment, months into the coronavirus pandemic, which has sickened more than 9.8 million people in the United States and caused more than 237,000 updated deaths.” [Washington Post, 11/7/20
  • Washington Post: For The 9.8 Million People Who Have Been Infected With Coronavirus, “One Of The Greatest Fears” Involves Ripping Away Protections For People With Pre-Existing Medical Conditions. “For those who have been infected and are aware of the court case, one of the greatest fears involves a part of the law that consistently has ranked as the most popular in years of public opinion polling: protections for people with preexisting medical conditions. The protections forbid insurers to charge such customers higher prices, to refuse to cover them for care associated with their condition, or to refuse to sell them a health plan at all.” [Washington Post, 11/7/20

Wall Street Journal: Affordable Care Act Faces Latest Test In Supreme Court. “A week after President Trump’s electoral defeat, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on one of the principal goals of his 2016 campaign—eliminating the Affordable Care Act—in the midst of an intensifying pandemic.” [Wall Street Journal, 11/8/20

  • Wall Street Journal: “Elimination Of The ACA Would Inflict A Shock To The Health Care System” As Millions Have Lost Jobs During The Pandemic. Millions of people have lost their jobs during the pandemic, and with them their work-provided health insurance. Elimination of the ACA would inflict a shock on the health-care system, analysts say. Most states with budgets already strapped by the pandemic would be unable to cover the shortfall if federal funding for Medicaid expansion ends. Moreover, the law is now firmly entrenched in the U.S. health system. The ACA ensures coverage of preventive care, including a possible Covid-19 vaccine, without cost sharing in Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance.” [Wall Street Journal, 11/8/20

NBC News: Supreme Court To Hear Arguments In Showdown Over Obamacare. “The Supreme Court on Tuesday will take up what is likely to be the most important case of the term, a make-or-break challenge to the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. With a solid 6-3 conservative majority, the court will decide the future of President Barack Obama’s signature legislation, a law Republicans have long opposed but one that 20 million Americans now depend on for their health insurance.” [NBC News, 11/9/20

CNBC: Obamacare To Face Another Supreme Court Test On Tuesday, This Time With A 6-3 Conservative Majority. “The landmark health-care legislation known as Obamacare will face its third test at the Supreme Court this week before the most conservative panel of justices that have sat on the bench in decades…If the court strikes down the law, more than 20 million Americans could lose the health care coverage they have received under its provisions. The health-insurance industry, which has built itself around the law for 10 years, could be upended.” [CNBC, 11/9/20

  • CNBC: The Coronavirus Pandemic Has “Amplified the Stakes Of The Battle.” “The spreading coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 230,000 in the U.S. since it emerged late last year and sparked a recession that has kicked millions off their health insurance, has amplified the stakes of the battle.” [CNBC, 11/9/20

Politico: Obamacare Faces Supreme Court Remade By Trump. “President Donald Trump will leave office without making good on his pledge to wipe out Obamacare. But the Supreme Court he reshaped will soon indicate if it’ll finish the job. The court will hear a lawsuit Tuesday that likely represents Republicans’ last chance to knock out a health care law they’ve opposed for over a decade, and that President-elect Joe Biden is vowing to expand. One of the most-watched participants at the oral arguments will be Trump’s latest appointee to the high court, Amy Coney Barrett.” [Politico, 11/9/20

  • Politico: Supporters And Critics Of The ACA Believe The Republicans’ Argument Is “Faulty.” “Supporters of the health care law, and even some critics, believe that argument is faulty. Even if the mandate is now unconstitutional, they say it can be cleanly removed from the law without damaging the insurance protections and its many other provisions, like Medicaid expansion to millions of low-income adults, lower drug costs for seniors and reforms to how health care is delivered. Congress’ decision to scrap just the mandate penalty after the GOP’s broader Obamacare repeal effort collapsed is proof that lawmakers believed Obamacare could survive without penalizing people who forgo coverage.” [Politico, 11/9/20

Bloomberg: Obamacare Stakes Rise At Supreme Court As Election Dooms Easy Fix. “Advocates for patients, doctors, hospitals and insurance companies are urging the court to uphold the law, warning of chaos should the measure be invalidated in the midst of a pandemic. The challenge jeopardizes the health care of more than 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions, including those who have had Covid-19, according to estimates from the liberal Center for American Progress.” [Bloomberg, 11/9/20

Associated Press: Without Ginsburg, High Court Support For Health Law In Doubt. “Republican attorneys general in 18 states, backed by the Trump administration, are arguing that the whole law should be struck down because of a change made by the Republican-controlled Congress in 2017 that reduced the penalty for not having health insurance to zero. A court ruling invalidating the entire law would threaten coverage for more than 23 million people. It would wipe away protections for people with preexisting medical conditions, subsidized insurance premiums that make coverage affordable for millions of Americans and an expansion of the Medicaid program that is available to low-income people in most states.” [Associated Press, 11/7/20

Kaiser Health News: What to Know As ACA Heads To Supreme Court — Again. “The central issue in the case is whether the requirement in the law to have insurance — which remains even though Congress eliminated the penalty or tax — is constitutional. But states are not subject to the so-called individual mandate, so some analysts suggest the Republican officials have no standing. In addition, questions have been raised about the individual plaintiffs in the case, two consultants from Texas who argue that they felt compelled to buy insurance even without a possible penalty.” [Kaiser Health News, 11/9/20

Axios: The ACA Is Again “On The Brink Of Life Or Death At The High Court.” “The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday over the future of the Affordable Care Act — the third time in eight years the ACA has been on the brink of life or death at the high court. The big picture: For now, the smart money says that the court is likely to strike down what remains of the law’s individual mandate, but is unlikely to go along with the argument — advanced by both red states and the Trump administration — that the whole law has to fall along with it.” [Axios, 11/9/20