The Supreme Court heard argument on November 10th in the lawsuit seeking a full dismantling of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The case was brought by Texas and several other states, with the support of the current Administration.
The Center for Medicare Advocacy strongly opposes the meritless lawsuit, and was encouraged by the skepticism shown by several Justices during the argument. In particular, it appears that a majority of Justices may reject the notion that the entire law must be nullified simply because Congress reduced the tax for not purchasing health insurance to $0. Key Justices signaled that if the mandate to have insurance coupled with a $0 penalty is found to be unconstitutional, that one provision may be “severed” and the rest of the ACA can stand. That result is clearly correct under the Court’s own precedent.
A case with such weak legal grounding and dire potential consequences should never have proceeded this far. The plaintiff states and federal government have been irresponsibly arguing that protections for pre-existing conditions, along with all of the ACA’s other critical protections, should be invalidated. This has provoked fear and cast a cloud of uncertainty over the entire U.S. health care system. While the oral argument in front of the Supreme Court was promising, we will not know the final result until a decision issues, likely this spring.
If the Court were to strike down the ACA, it would be devastating for Medicare and the older adults and people with disabilities who rely on it. The ACA is ingrained in Medicare, as it is for the entire U.S. health care system. Losing the ACA would jeopardize critical protections for Medicare beneficiaries, including savings on prescriptions drugs, free life-saving preventive services, and protection from discrimination in health care based on age, disability, race, national origin, and gender. It would also harm the Medicare program by damaging its financial stability, putting the promise of Medicare for future beneficiaries in danger.
The Supreme Court should reject this blatant attempt at ACA repeal via the courts when legislative repeal has failed. The American people have made it clear that the ACA should and must remain the law of the land.
Read the joint amicus brief the Center submitted with AARP and Justice in Aging.