A Statement from the Center for Medicare Advocacy
If Judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its critical protections for people who rely on Medicare will be in mortal danger. Hearings begin today on the nomination of Judge Barrett to fill the U.S. Supreme Court seat previously held by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. If she is confirmed – during a pandemic, in the midst of an election – one of the first cases Judge Barrett will hear, the week after the election, will be California v. Texas. This case could determine the fate of the ACA. The stakes could not be higher.
The Trump Administration is actively supporting the California v. Texas parties who seek to completely eliminate the ACA and its protections. Judge Barrett has already criticized a previous Supreme Court decision that upheld the ACA. If the law is struck down, millions of Americans will lose health coverage. People with pre-existing conditions will lose the law’s protections. In addition to these devastating consequences, the public and policymakers should remember what the ACA has done for older adults generally, and Medicare beneficiaries specifically, all of which is in jeopardy.
In addition to guaranteeing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions who buy policies through the ACA’s marketplace, the ACA:
- Expanded access to coverage for adults ages 50-64, before they qualify for Medicare;
- Closed the Medicare Part D prescription drug “donut hole” coverage gap;
- Added coverage for new preventive services and eliminated cost-sharing for most preventive care in Medicare, including mammograms and annual wellness visits;
- Created important consumer protections for people enrolled in private Medicare Advantage plans;
- Triggered payment and delivery system reforms aimed at improving quality of care and lowering costs; and
- Strengthened the financial stability of the Medicare program.
As the Center for Medicare Advocacy wrote in our joint Supreme Court amicus brief with AARP and Justice in Aging, the Administration’s position in the California v. Texas case would destroy the Affordable Care Act, creating devastating consequences for Medicare, older adults, people with disabilities, and families throughout the country. Much is at stake for people across income levels, age, and health conditions. We urge policymakers to do everything they can to protect the Affordable Care Act and to postpone confirming a new Supreme Court nominee until after the inauguration.
The Center for Medicare Advocacy is a national, non-profit, law organization that works to advance access to comprehensive Medicare coverage and quality health care for older people and people with disabilities. Founded in 1986, the Center focuses on the needs of people with longer-term and chronic conditions. The organization’s work includes legal assistance, advocacy, education, analysis, policy initiatives, and litigation of importance to Medicare beneficiaries nationwide. Our systemic advocacy is based on the experiences of the real people who contact the Center every day. Headquartered in Connecticut and Washington, DC, the Center also has attorneys in CA, MA, and NJ.