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ACA’s Mandate Struck Down by Court Rest of ACA At Risk.

CCHCC response and your support!

December 19, 2019

Dear friend,

Yesterday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional, putting the health care of 130 million Americans at risk. 
As of right now, the ACA is still the law of the land, and health insurance for Americans will be unchanged in 2020. But, make no mistake, health coverage for millions of Americans is at risk, depending on the next court rulings in 2020.
Please read on for more information about the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, how Americans (and Illinois residents, in particular) could be affected, and what CCHCC is doing and how you can help.

But first, a few important facts:

  1. The ACA is still the law of the land! You can still use your healthcare and you should continue with your Marketplace plan if you signed up for one, and if you are eligible for Medicaid, it is still available to you. In fact, CCHCC continues to provide free enrollment services to community members. Each enrollment can take between 30 minutes to 4 hours. You can learn more about our work and how you can support us here.
  2. The ACA is helping millions get affordable care, and must be upheld (more below on how we fight!).
  3. It is outrageous that the Trump Administration and their supporters continue to attack the ACA after so much time. The law is constitutional and it has ushered in many important changes and protections in health insurance. It’s time to move on!

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ACA Ruling – what you need to know.
Yesterday, a three-judge panel from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s individual mandate. The judges agreed with a lower court decision issued in the case, Texas v. U.S., in December 2018 that the individual mandate is unconstitutional but, unlike the lower court, did not decide that the rest of the ACA is also unconstitutional. Instead, the judges remanded, or sent back, the decision to the same lower court judge to consider. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is leading the 21 Democratic state attorneys general (including Illinois’s AG) defending the law, along with the U.S. House of Representatives, immediately announced he would appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
Whether the Supreme Court will decide to take the case now or wait for the decision of Judge O’Connor’s, of the lower court, is uncertain. If the Court decides to take the case now, they could expedite the briefing process and issue a decision in 2020. If it does not take the case now, a ruling will be delayed until after the 2020 presidential election.

Impact on Americans, and Illinois residents, if ACA is struck down in its entirety.
No one knows how the Supreme Court will ultimately rule. But we do know that if the Court decides to strike down the ACA, the human toll will be immense and tragic. The law has granted unprecedented health security to millions:
18.2 million formerly uninsured people have gained coverage since 2010
53.8 million Americans with preexisting health conditions are now protected
12.7 million low-income people are insured through expanded Medicaid
10.6 million people have coverage through the ACA marketplaces, 9.3 million of whom receive tax credits to help them pay their premiums
5.5 million young adults have gained coverage, many by staying on their parents’ plans
45 million Medicare beneficiaries have much better drug coverage.
What’s at stake in Illinois?
• Nearly one million more uninsured Illinoisans.
• 5.4 million Illinoisans with pre-existing conditions could lose their coverage.
• 187,360 seniors with Medicare would face increased costs on their prescription drugs.
• 5.89 million Illinoisans would lose preventive care.

Impact of ruling on the SUPER RICH.
If the lawsuit were to succeed and the entire ACA was to be struck down, very few among us (no one that I know!) would be winners: the very rich and certain corporations. If successful, the ACA Repeal Lawsuit would give the top 1,400 households tax cuts worth more than the premium tax credits for 600,000 people. The Trump Administration and the Attorneys General who are pursuing this lawsuit, are, in effect, seeking a massive transfer of income from low- and moderate-income Americans to people on the top rungs of the income ladder and to corporations. You can learn more about this here.
CCHCC’s response to Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ACA Ruling.
CCHCC strongly condemns yesterday’s 5th U.S. Circuit Court ruling declaring the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate unconstitutional and remanding the law back to District Court Judge Reed O’Connor, who has already ruled in favor of striking down the entire ACA. This politically-motivated ruling puts the health and health care of people across the country in jeopardy and flies in the face of common sense, settled law, and good health care policy.

We have no reason to believe that Judge O’Connor will do anything different this time around. If his ruling is ultimately upheld, tens of millions of people could lose health coverage, protections for pre-existing health conditions like cancer and diabetes, and crucial benefits including treatment for substance use disorders and mental health, maternal care, and more. 
One of the cruelest, most harmful results would be that it could take away coverage from the more than 20 million people who gained it following the expansion of Medicaid in 35 states – including our own state of Illinois. 
This case has been part of the Trump administration and its allies’ highly partisan, broad scale attack on the ACA through legislation, litigation, executive action and regulatory changes.

We appreciate the tireless efforts of the 21 attorneys general, led by Xavier Becerra of California, to protect people’s access to quality, affordable health care by defending the ACA in court.  We are grateful to IL Attorney General, Kwame Raoul, for his efforts on behalf of all Illinois residents. See his statement here.
The Trump administration and the attorneys general pursuing this lawsuit should listen to the American people, the majority of whom support the ACA and the protections it provides. The unrelenting attacks on the ACA have caused tremendous harm and anxiety for people across the country. We are calling on elected officials and policymakers to turn their attention where it belongs — working toward high quality, affordable coverage for all.

What you can do to help.
There are many ways that you can help protect our care:

  1. Support CCHCC and our efforts to get everyone covered and lead our community’s efforts to protect our care.
  2. Sign up for Phone2Action to receive instructions when it is time to act: TEXT POCIL to 40649
  3. Sign the Health Care Voter petition and demand that Congress protect our care.
  4. Stay tuned to your email and take action when asked to do so.

Thank you for your support


Claudia Lennhoff
Champaign County Health Care Consumers