In five days, on November 10, the Supreme Court hears arguments about the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in California v. Texas. This ongoing litigation challenges the ACA’s individual mandate, but raises questions about the entire law’s survival, and could result in dismantling the entire ACA.
While the ACA’s changes to the individual insurance market and its expansion of Medicaid have been the focus of much media coverage, the law has affected every part of the health care system, including Medicare. The ACA is woven into Medicare, with over 165 provisions affecting the program. Many of these provisions help beneficiaries and strengthen Medicare’s financial well-being. Striking down the ACA would have disastrous ramifications for Medicare beneficiaries and the U.S. health care system as a whole.
In a series of CMA Alerts leading up to the Supreme Court oral argument, the Center has been highlighting some of the harm that undoing the ACA would bring to Medicare and Medicare beneficiaries. If the Supreme Court strikes down the ACA, then important life-saving preventive services would no longer be available to Medicare beneficiaries for free. Undoing the ACA would also jeopardize the fiscal gains made to Medicare under the ACA, harming Medicare’s long term financial stability. Undoing the law also threatens prescription drug coverage for millions of Medicare beneficiaries. Section 1557 of ACA prohibits discrimination against individuals on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs or activities; dismantling the ACA also puts those important protections at risk.
The Center for Medicare Advocacy strongly opposes dismantling the ACA and the lawsuit that seeks to do so on unmerited grounds. The Center joined AARP and Justice in Aging in submitting an amicus brief in support of California and the other states defending the ACA against the lawsuit now at the Supreme Court. The brief highlights the ACA’s key protections for older adults and the devastating consequences that would ensue if the law is nullified.
- CMA Alert: Dismantling the Affordable Care Act Would Harm Medicare and Medicare Beneficiaries: Medicare’s Financial Stability (October 29, 2020).
- CMA Alert: Dismantling the Affordable Care Act Would Harm Medicare and Medicare Beneficiaries: Part D “Donut Hole” (October 22, 2020).
- CMA Alert: Dismantling the ACA Would Harm Medicare and Medicare Beneficiaries | Highlight on Preventive Services (October 15, 2020).
- Kaiser Family Foundation, “Potential Impact of California v. Texas Decision on Key Provisions of the Affordable Care Act” (updated September 2020).
- Commonwealth Fund: Could Repealing the ACA Impact Medicare? Definitely, but Many Questions Remain (October 2020).
- Kiplinger: What Happens to Medicare If the Affordable Care Act Is Overturned? (November 2020).
- Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “ACA Repeal Lawsuit Would Cut Taxes for Top 0.1 Percent by an Average of $198,000, Weaken Medicare Trust Fund” (October 2020).
- Congressional Budget Office, “Budgetary and Economic Effects of Repealing the Affordable Care Act,” (June 2015).
- Kaiser Family Foundation, “A Primer on Medicare: Key Facts About the Medicare Program and the People it Covers,” (March 2015).
- GAO Report, “Continuous Insurance before Enrollment Associated with Better Health and Lower Program Spending,” (December 2013).
- Medicare Rights Center and National Council on Aging Infographic (2019).
- Center’s explanation of ACA’s expansion of Medicare coverage of preventive benefits (September 2010):
- Kaiser Family Foundation, “The Medicare Part D Coverage Gap: Costs and Consequences in 2007” (August 2008).
- CMS Report, The Affordable Care Act: A Stronger Medicare Program (February 2013).
- Dena Bunis, Medicare “Doughnut Hole” Will Close in 2019, AARP (February 2018).
- Center statement concerning the fate of the ACA in light of Supreme Court nomination hearings (October 2020).
November 5, 2020 – K. Kertesz