May 13, 2020
Today the Center for Medicare Advocacy, along with AARP and Justice in Aging, filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In their brief, the three organizations highlight the ACA’s critical protections for older adults and the disastrous ramifications that will ensue if the law is struck down.
The brief explains that the ACA is a lifeline for older adults, who rely on it for their health and financial stability. For “pre-Medicare” individuals, ages 50-64, the law guarantees coverage of pre-existing conditions and limits how much insurers can charge policyholders based on age. For Medicare beneficiaries, the ACA has lowered costs by, among other things, closing the “Donut Hole” in the Medicare Part D drug benefit. That provision alone has saved more than 11.8 million Medicare beneficiaries over $26.8 billion. The ACA also eliminated out-of-pocket costs for numerous preventive services, such as mammograms and diabetes screening, significantly increasing the use of such services among Medicare beneficiaries. Further, the ACA strengthens the financial solvency of the Medicare program, having extended the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by approximately eight years.
Judith Stein, Executive Director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy, said, “Since it was signed into law 10 years ago, the ACA has strengthened Medicare and undoubtedly saved the lives of older adults by allowing affordable access to needed medications and preventive services. This cruel and legally misguided lawsuit must be seen for what it is: an attempt to repeal the ACA by judicial action. It should be rejected.”
The brief explains that the COVID-19 crisis has shown the ACA to be a stabilizing force, helping increase access to health care and steady the country in a time of crisis. This is particularly true for older adults, whose vulnerability has been tragically exposed by the pandemic. “If [the Supreme] Court finds that the ACA is invalid, millions of older adults will lose life-saving health care coverage and consumer protections they have relied on for years,” the brief states. Nullifying the ACA will also “destroy hard-fought gains, such as meaningful choice for older adults to age in place and protections for nursing facility residents and the lowest income seniors who rely on Medicare.”
The amicus brief was filed in support of the states that are defending the law as well as the House of Representatives. The Trump administration contends that the entire ACA must be dismantled. The case will be argued this fall, with a decision from the Supreme Court expected by the end of June 2021.