We have reached a critical point for the future of American health care and the fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). On June 25th, Trump’s Department of Justice (DOJ) and Republican-led states submitted their briefs in support of California v. Texas, the lawsuit seeking to strike down the ACA. If President Trump and Republicans have their way, 20 million Americans will lose their insurance coverage, 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions will be stripped of their protections, and costs will go up for millions. The consequences of the lawsuit for America’s health care are particularly devastating at a time the country is gripped by the coronavirus crisis which threatens the health and safety of the entire nation.

No action would be more damaging to Americans’ health and safety than if the Trump administration achieves their desired goal of overturning the ACA in its entirety during this crisis. When the court hears this case, there will likely be no vaccine and no viable treatment for the virus. When millions of Americans have already lost health insurance due to the pandemic, it’s absurd that President Trump is arguing in court that 20 million more Americans should lose their health care. And when millions of Americans who contract the coronavirus join the 135 million Americans with a pre-existing condition, President Trump will also be arguing in court to allow insurance companies to deny them coverage or charge them more. The submission of these briefs from Republican states will put the Trump administration’s politically-motivated lawsuit on full display for the American people in front of the highest court.

Days of Action: Day 8 of 12 focuses on health care for young Americans. To learn more about our Days of Action, visit our website.

What’s At Stake: Coverage for Children & Young Adults

Health care for children and young adults is especially important as the nation continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic. As millions of families have lost their health care as a result of coronavirus-related job losses, the ACA and Medicaid expansion give them a place to turn to for comprehensive, affordable coverage. Research from Georgetown’s Center for Children and Families has already revealed an uptick in children’s Medicaid enrollment during the pandemic. 

The ACA made significant gains in children’s access to health care. If the health care law is struck down in court:

  • Almost three million children nationwide gained coverage thanks to the ACA. If the law is overturned, many of these children will lose their insurance.
  • More than 17 million children with pre-existing conditions could face discrimination. Insurance companies could once again exclude benefits, raise premiums, or deny all coverage altogether for children with conditions like asthma and diabetes. 
  • More than 40 million children who have private insurance would lose guaranteed access to free preventive care and could once again face lifetime or annual limits.
  • 2.3 million young adults will no longer be able to stay on their parents’ insurance. 

Medicaid Expansion Helps Children. 

Expanding access to Medicaid for parents has had ripple effects for their children. If the ACA is struck down, this progress could be reversed. 

When Parents Have Medicaid, Their Children Are More Likely To Have Regular Care. As summarized by Georgetown University’s Center on Children and Families, recent research finds that “Parents enrolled in Medicaid have children who are 29 percentage points more likely to receive a well-child visit. The relationship is strongest for families with household incomes between 100% and 200% [of the federal poverty line]. In these families, parents enrolled in Medicaid have children who are 45 percentage points more likely to receive a well-child visit.” [Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, 1/12/18]

Medicaid Expansion Led To Gains In Coverage For Children As Well As Parents. A study in Health Affairs found that “710,000 children gained public coverage when their parents enrolled in Medicaid between 2013 and 2015. If the remaining 19 non-expansion states expanded Medicaid, 200,000 additional children would gain health coverage through existing programs. The effect was largest among children whose parents gained Medicaid eligibility through the expansion.” [Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, 1/12/18]