In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump just confirmed that he wants to kill the ACA and, with it, health care coverage for about 30 million Americans. The Washington Post reports that the Trump administration is supporting a lawsuit brought by several Republican governors against the ACA that is now in the Supreme Court.
For sure, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not offer the guaranteed universal coverage we all need. Rather, it delivers health insurance that is too often unaffordable and generally also comes with very restricted networks of doctors. People with coverage through state health insurance exchanges also cannot count on the insurance they buy through the state exchanges being there for them from one year to the next.
That all said, the ACA offers some excellent protections. If the Trump Administration kills the ACA, it will end federal protections that ensure people with preexisting health conditions can get health insurance. It will also end a mandate on health insurers to cover dependent children up to age 26 on their parents’ policies. And, it will end Medicaid coverage for people with incomes up to 135 percent of the federal poverty level.
Moreover, if 30 million people lose health care coverage, premiums would likely rise significantly for everyone else and Medicare costs would rise. The more people with health insurance, the lower the cost of health care coverage. People who are uninsured drive up costs for everyone with insurance. Put differently, the more people with health care coverage before they go on Medicare, the lower the costs to Medicare when they enroll. In addition, everyone benefits when everyone is insured. Universal coverage promotes the public health.
Several Republican states brought the lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act. A group of Democratic states is defending the ACA. The Supreme Court has already upheld the ACA twice. But, this time around, it is not clear it will. It will hear arguments in this case next month. But, it might not issue a decision until 2021.
- Coronavirus: President Trump threatening to block new stimulus money unless Congress cuts Social Security and Medicare contributions
- Coronavirus: The importance of health care proxies
- Coronavirus: Should nursing homes be for-profit?
- Coronavirus: Atypical symptoms for older adults
- Coronavirus: Consider learning tai chi