Those Who Know Health Care Best Say the Judge’s ACA Ruling is the Worst

“Misguided and Wrong”: Those Who Know Health Care the Best Say That the Judge’s Ruling on the Affordable Care Act is the Worst

Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that the entire Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional and should be struck down. This ruling would end protections for those with pre-existing conditions, re-implement an age tax, no longer let children stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26, implement an age tax on seniors, and kick millions of Americans off of their insurance. Those who know health care the best – patients groups, medical associations, insurance companies – have been unanimous in their rejection of this ruling:

THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION CRITICIZED THE RULING:

American Medical Association: “An Unfortunate Step Backward For Our Health System.” “The American Medical Association called the ruling ‘an unfortunate step backward for our health system’ and warned the decision could ‘destabilize health insurance coverage.’ ‘No one wants to go back to the days of 20 percent of the population uninsured and fewer patient protections, but this decision will move us in that direction,’ AMA president Barbara L. McAneny said in a statement.” [CNBC, 12/14]

THE NATION’S LEADING PATIENT GROUPS CALLED FOR THIS DECISION TO BE REVERSED:

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association,  And National Multiple Sclerosis Society: “We Are Hopeful The United States Court Of Appeals For The Fifth Circuit Will Support Individuals With Chronic Diseases And Preserve Health Care For Millions Of Americans.” “If the ruling stands, anyone with a pre-existing condition could be charged more for health coverage or denied access to coverage altogether. Health plans would no longer be required to offer essential benefits necessary to prevent and treat a serious condition and could once again impose arbitrary annual and lifetime limits on coverage… The court should have respected the will of Congress, instead of ruling to invalidate the law at the expense of the 27 million Americans who will lose their health care by 2020, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates. In the event of an appeal, we are hopeful the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit will support individuals with chronic diseases and preserve health care for millions of Americans.” [American Lung Association, 12/15]

American Psychiatric Association: “This Decision Must Be Appealed And Reversed.” “‘This ruling has an unconscionable result,’ said APA President Altha Stewart, M.D. ‘Should this ruling stand, millions of our patients will lose their health care. We cannot afford to go back to the days when Americans were denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions or when insurance companies would not cover mental health and substance use disorders.’ ‘This harmful ruling must be appealed and overturned,’ said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. ‘The court’s decision to invalidate the ACA, including pre-existing conditions protections and the Medicaid expansion will hurt our patients with mental illness and all illnesses. This decision must be appealed and reversed.” [APA, 12/15]

INSURERS WERE QUICK TO BLAST THE DECISION:

America’s Health Insurance Plans: “The District Court’s Decision Is Misguided And Wrong.” “The district court’s decision is misguided and wrong. This decision denies coverage to more than 100 million Americans, including seniors, veterans, children, people with disabilities, hardworking Americans with low-incomes, young adults on their parents’ plans until age 26, and millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions. We argued in an amicus brief before the court that provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) affecting patients with pre-existing conditions, and those covered by Medicaid and Medicare should remain law regardless of what the court ruled on the individual mandate. Unfortunately, this ruling harms all of these Americans.” [AHIP, 12/14]

Blue Cross Blue Shield: “We Are Extremely Disappointed In The Court’s Ruling.” Yesterday’s federal district court ruling in a case challenging the Affordable Care Act is the first step in what we expect will be a lengthy legal process…While we are extremely disappointed in the court’s ruling, we will continue to work with lawmakers on a bipartisan basis to ensure that all Americans can access the consistent, quality health coverage they need and deserve.” [Blue Cross Blue Shield, 12/15]

HOSPITALS REJECTED THE RULING:

American Federation Of Hospitals: “The Judge Got It Wrong.” “‘The judge got it wrong,’ said Charles N. ‘Chip’ Kahn III, president of the Federation of American Hospitals. ‘This ruling would have a devastating impact on the patients we serve and the nation’s health-care system as a whole. . . . Having this decision come in the closing hours of open enrollment also sows seeds of unnecessary confusion.’” [Washington Post, 12/14]

American Hospital Association: “America’s Hospitals And Health Systems Are Extremely Disappointed.” “America’s hospitals and health systems are extremely disappointed with today’s federal district court ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The ruling puts health coverage at risk for tens of millions of Americans, including those with chronic and pre-existing conditions, while also making it more difficult for hospitals and health systems to provide access to high-quality care…We join others in urging a stay in this decision until a higher court can review it and will continue advocating for protecting patient care and coverage.” [American Hospital Association, 12/14]

MEDICAL COLLEGES REJECTED IT, TOO:

American Association of Medical Colleges: “This Ruling Puts Millions Of Americans, Including The Most Vulnerable Patients, At Risk.” “Dismantling the ACA will be disastrous for the nation’s health care system. Patients—particularly those with preexisting and complex conditions—require stability and continuity in their care. Without access to affordable meaningful coverage, many would forego or delay necessary medical care. This ruling puts millions of Americans, including the most vulnerable patients, at risk.” [American Association of Medical Colleges, 12/15]

AND SO DID SMALL BUSINESSES:

Small Business Majority: Court “Made A Grave Error… Ending The ACA Would Be An Unmitigated Disaster.” “The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas made a grave error in the case of Texas v. United States when it recklessly decided the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional… Prior to the enactment of the healthcare law, small businesses and their employees represented a disproportionate share of uninsured workers, and small business owners paid 18 percent more on average for coverage than their big business counterparts. Since 2010, however, the growth in small business healthcare costs slowed dramatically, following regular double-digit increases prior to the law’s enactment. And because the law makes it much easier for the self-employed to obtain their own coverage, many more aspiring entrepreneurs have escaped ‘job lock’ and been willing to go out on their own to start new ventures. In fact, more than 5.7 million small business employees or self-employed workers are enrolled in the ACA marketplaces, and more than half of all ACA marketplace enrollees nationwide are small business owners, self-employed individuals or small business employees… Ending the ACA would be an unmitigated disaster for America’s entrepreneurs: It would cause a rapid rise in healthcare costs and create substantial economic instability. For the good of America’s job creators, the constitutionality of the ACA must be upheld, and we hope this decision is immediately appealed.” [Small Business Majority, 12/15]

THE RULING WAS PRAISED BY ONE PERSON, HOWEVER. WHO WAS THAT?

President Donald Trump: “Great News For America!” “Wow, but not surprisingly, ObamaCare was just ruled UNCONSTITUTIONAL by a highly respected judge in Texas. Great news for America!” [Donald Trump Twitter, 12/14]