July 1, 2020
Unbelievable, unprecedented, and inhumane. In the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic that is gripping the world and our nation, the Trump administration submitted a last-minute late-night filing urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA) last week on Thursday night, June 25, 2020.
It is unprecedented in our nation’s history that the federal government, much less the president’s administration, would go to court to oppose and urge that a federal law like this be overturned and nullified. Normally, the role of the administration and federal government would be to support the law.
But, of course, we are talking about the Trump administration, which has repeatedly demonstrated that it has no regard for the nation’s health, or the institutions, policies, regulations, and laws that aim to protect our nation’s health. Efforts to overturn the ACA, especially when accompanied by no plan whatsoever to provide some other form of coverage, demonstrate that these moves are not about health policy, but about the ugliest and most dangerous of politics.
About the Trump administration’s Supreme Court filing
The Trump administration submitted its last-minute filing on Thursday night for the ACA case that will be argued this fall in the Supreme Court. The Trump administration’s filing comes on the same day that the federal government reported that close to half a million people who lost their health insurance amid the economic shutdown to slow the spread of COVID-19 have gotten coverage through HealthCare.gov. (By the way, that number does not include individuals who have gotten coverage through state-run exchanges or through Medicaid.)
Amazingly, the Trump administration’s legal brief makes no mention of the virus or of American’s reliance on the ACA during the pandemic.
In the case before the Supreme Court, Texas and other conservative-led states argue that the ACA was basically rendered unconstitutional after Congress passed tax legislation in 2017 that eliminated the law’s unpopular fines for not having health insurance, but left in place its requirement that virtually all Americans have coverage.
After failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act in 2017 when Republicans fully controlled Congress – thanks to the activism of millions of Americans, including those in Champaign County – Trump has put the weight of his administration behind the legal challenge.
What is at stake? What happens to protections for those with pre-existing conditions?
Some 20 million Americans could lose their health coverage, and protections for millions more people with preexisting health conditions would also be put at risk if the Supreme Court agrees with the administration in this case. The case will not be heard before the fall.
The Trump administration’s views on what parts of the ACA might be kept or replaced if the law is overturned have shifted over time (again, demonstrating that there is no health policy justification that underlies the administration’s views). But in legal arguments, the administration has always supported getting rid of the ACA (also known as “Obamacare”) provisions that prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against people on account of their medical history.
And yet, Trump has repeatedly assured Americans that people with preexisting conditions would still be protected. Neither the White House nor congressional Republicans have specified how. Therefore, these assurance amount to nothing more than politically-motivated bald-faced lies.
Job loss = health insurance loss for millions in the U.S. The ACA and Medicaid are here to help!
It is estimated that approximately 27 million people may have lost job-based coverage due to layoffs. People who lose employer health care are eligible for a special sign-up period for subsidized plans under the ACA, and many may also qualify for Medicaid, depending what state they live in.
The Trump administration has been criticized for not publicizing these readily available backups.
Last Thursday’s report from the government showed that about 487,000 people signed up with HealthCare.gov after losing their workplace coverage this year. That’s an increase of 46% from the same time period last year.
CCHCC condemns Trump Administration’s U.S. Supreme Court Filing to Overturn the ACA
Under any circumstance, the Trump administration’s effort to overturn the Affordable Care Act, which has massively reduced the uninsured rate in the United States and has contributed to declines in cancer and mortality rates, would be deplorable.
But, to try to do it now, during a global pandemic creating an enormous public health crisis in the United States, is nothing short of being an act of great cruelty, and it is simply un-American.
In a time when families are struggling to pay rent and bills due to record unemployment, we must instead work to improve access to quality, affordable health care for all.
As of today, there are over 2.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States and over 130,000 deaths. Persistent disparities across communities of color are now intensified. At a time when our nation is scared and mourning, the Trump administration is pushing to take health care away from millions, reversing the elimination of many disparities in coverage for people of color and low-income people.
No individual or family should have to worry about whether they can afford treatment for COVID-19 or even basic health care. In fact, Congress must go further in ensuring that those who are not covered now, can access COVID-19 related care. The situation is only exacerbated further due to many people of color and low-income people working on the front-lines to serve our country. Repealing the ACA would eliminate key civil rights protections, end coverage of essential services, delete data collection standards and undo the law’s provisions to address racial disparities.
CCHCC has been, and will continue to monitor this case, and we will remain committed to working with our community, our partners, and our coalitions in IL and across the country to defend access to affordable health care and the ACA.
Thank you for your support!
Consumer health advocacy organizations like CCHCC are essential for fighting to protect our community’s health and the laws and policies that advance health improvement and health care justice. We appreciate your support, both in your advocacy efforts and your contributions to CCHCC.
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Champaign County Health Care Consumers