We know you have been hearing a lot lately about the recent lawsuit involving the Affordable Care Act (ACA). There is a lot of information out there so we thought we’d break it down into the most important things you need to know.
What is the lawsuit about?
Earlier this year, a group of over a dozen Republican attorneys general filed a lawsuit in a federal district court in Texas challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate, the provision that requires all Americans to have health insurance (with some exceptions).
In this case, Texas v. U.S., the plaintiffs argued that since recent tax reform legislation reduced the penalty for not having health insurance to zero, that the individual mandate is now unconstitutional. They also argued that if the individual mandate is unconstitutional, it cannot be severed from the rest of the law so the entire ACA should be struck down.
Last week, the judge sided with the plaintiffs and ruled that the ACA is unconstitutional.
What does the decision mean for patients?
This decision will not immediately impact patients. The law will remain in place while the decision is appealed.
That being said, the patient protections included in the ACA are incredibly important, and if they were to go away, patients with cancer and other serious conditions may be unable to get the care they need. The ACA not only included protections for patients with pre-existing conditions, but also put a ban on annual or lifetime limits for coverage, and required coverage of preventative screenings, such as colonoscopies.
A group of Democrat attorneys general were permitted to participate in the case to defend the ACA, and they have already begun the appeal process. The case will move to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and after that is likely to reach the Supreme Court. So this process is far from over.
Additionally, Fight CRC has partnered with others in the cancer community to express our strong concern about the decision and the impact it could have on the patient community. We will continue to work with our advocacy partners as well as our champions on Capitol Hill to ensure that these important patient protections remain in place. And we will need your help! Stay tuned for opportunities for you to take action. And if you’re not already, make sure to sign up to receive our Action Alerts.
Looking for additional information? Check out this article in Health Affairs for a deeper dive on the lawsuit and potential next steps.