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 are submitting 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 1 of 12 focuses on Medicaid Expansion. To learn more about our Days of Action, visit our website.
What’s At Stake: Medicaid Expansion
Overturning the Affordable Care Act would take coverage away from millions of working families and children who finally gained health coverage thanks to Medicaid expansion. The impact of eliminating Medicaid expansion would be particularly devastating as the nation is still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.
Medicaid Expansion Is A Key Tool In Fighting Coronavirus. Because of the ACA, states can get additional federal money to expand Medicaid to vulnerable populations, including low-income childless adults, older adults, and people with disabilities. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 27 million Americans likely lost their health care during the pandemic. In states that have rejected expansion, many of these individuals are likely locked out of receiving Medicaid coverage.
As A Result Of The Pandemic, An Additional 300,000 People In North Carolina Fall Into The Medicaid “Coverage Gap.” As a result of the state’s decision to reject Medicaid expansion, 500,000 North Carolinians fell into the “coverage gap”–where they made too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to qualify for ACA subsidies–just ahead of the pandemic. Officials estimate that this figure has grown by 300,000 during the coronavirus crisis. If North Carolina expanded Medicaid, these 800,000 individuals could get covered.
Uninsured People Are Particularly Vulnerable As They Face The Possibility Of Coronavirus And Devastating Health Care Bills. Low-income individuals are especially at risk for being exposed to the virus, as they are often service workers deemed essential and are unable to practice social distancing. The Kaiser Family Foundation that 2 million uninsured patients could be hospitalized due to the virus, threatening to leave them with tens of thousands in medical bills. It is especially important for these families to have Medicaid to turn to for coverage in this public health emergency.
17 Million People Nationwide Are Currently Enrolled Through Medicaid Expansion
Medicaid Expansion Saves Lives. A report by the Center On Budget And Policy Priorities found that “the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) expansion of Medicaid to low-income adults is preventing thousands of premature deaths each year, a landmark study finds. It saved the lives of at least 19,200 adults aged 55 to 64 over the four-year period from 2014 to 2017. Conversely, 15,600 older adults died prematurely because of state decisions not to expand Medicaid.”
Medicaid Expansion Led To Gains In Coverage For Children. A study in Health Affairs found that 710,000 children gained public coverage as a result of their parents enrolling in Medicaid between 2013 and 2015. The study notes “the effect was largest among children whose parents gained Medicaid eligibility through the expansion.” If the remaining non-expansion states expanded Medicaid, 200,000 additional children would gain health coverage.
Medicaid Expansion Helps Reduce Racial Disparities In Health Care. Medicaid expansion played a key role in increasing coverage rates for communities of color. After the implementation of the ACA, gaps in insurance coverage narrowed the most in states that adopted Medicaid expansion. Today, a Black person living in an expansion state is more likely to be insured than a white person residing in a state that rejected Medicaid expansion.
If the Affordable Care Act is struck down:
- Seventeen Million People Enrolled Through Medicaid Expansion Could Lose Coverage.
- Access To Treatment Would Be In Jeopardy For 800,000 People With Opioid Use Disorder. Roughly four in ten, 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, leaving hospitals with $9.6 billion more in uncompensated care.
- 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.