Payers and providers alike predict havoc and a public health crisis if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act.
The future of the Affordable Care Act may be in jeopardy as the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday heard oral arguments calling for its elimination, but healthcare stakeholders are united in their support of the landmark law.
Here's a sampling of what they had to say.
Sr. Mary Haddad, RSM, President and CEO, Catholic Health Association of the United States
"Striking down the ACA would be devastating to the approximately 20 million Americans who gained coverage under the law, including 15 million low-income individuals who are covered by Medicaid Expansion. It would adversely impact the approximately 130 million Americans with pre-existing medical conditions, including those diagnosed with COVID-19. The pain of repeal would be borne by some of the most vulnerable in our society – pregnant women, racial minorities, and low-income individuals and families."
"Our members witness firsthand the devastating impact that a lack of affordable health insurance and healthcare has on individuals, families, and communities, especially during the pandemic. The uninsured often do not seek out the care they need and may suffer unnecessarily if their illness or injury gets worse."
"If the Supreme Court strikes down the entire ACA, it would wreak havoc on the U.S. healthcare system and irreparably harm those most in need of care. We strongly urge the Court to rule that the individual mandate is severable, as clearly intended by Congress when it eliminated the individual mandate penalty but did not repeal the entire ACA."
Chip Kahn, President and CEO, Federation of American Hospitals
"It is imperative that the Supreme Court uphold the ACA. Tens of millions of Americans depend on health coverage and protections provided by the law. In the midst of COVID is no time to let down the millions who we serve as our patients."
"As caregivers, the goal of hospitals for our patients is to see increased access to affordable coverage for all Americans - not new obstacles. The ACA framework can accomplish this goal. We hope the Supreme Court will see its way clear to allow it to go forward."
Jacqueline W. Fincher, MD, MACP President, American College of Physicians
"We all need to understand the damage that would be done to healthcare for Americans if the law is thrown out. Since the ACA was signed into law over a decade ago, it has become critical to the functioning of the U.S. healthcare system. The ACA provides access to affordable health coverage for millions of Americans. It ensures that health insurance covers essential benefits and that effective preventive healthcare is fully covered. It ensures no one has to pay more for coverage, or is prevented from getting it, because of their age, gender, occupation or health condition."
"Our healthcare system is already under unprecedented strain due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If the ACA were to be thrown out at the same time that we face the pandemic, it would cause chaos for physicians and our patients, and for the entire healthcare system. Millions of Americans who have been infected by the coronavirus could now have their coverage in jeopardy if protections for pre-existing conditions were no longer in place. Millions of Americans have lost or are in danger of losing their employer-sponsored insurance and will need coverage through the ACA's health insurance marketplaces or Medicaid expansion."
Ada D. Stewart, MD, President, American Academy of Family Physicians
"With the current health crisis, there are projections that the number of Americans with pre-existing conditions will grow significantly as people suffer long-term effects of COVID-19. It is more important than ever that we ensure these protections and affordable access to coverage remain in place."
“The ACA has contributed to the forward progress of the healthcare system including recognizing the need to train a more robust primary care workforce through the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program and has encouraged innovation through the creation of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation."
America's Health Insurance Plans
"We are encouraged by the thoughtful questions raised by the Justices in today's arguments and are confident that the Court will come to the right decision to uphold the law and sustain the ACA's important consumer protections. Invalidating the law would be misguided and wrong and unleash chaos on the entire healthcare system. For Americans with pre-existing conditions, worrying about their health can be constant. Worrying about whether they will have coverage for their health conditions should not be."
"Health insurance providers are united in their commitment to the ACA and its protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions. Regardless of your health, you should have the peace of mind of knowing that your health status will not result in your being charged more than others for your major medical coverage."
Scott P. Serota, President and CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield
"The U.S. Supreme Court should not invalidate the Affordable Care Act. To do so would strip vital protections from consumers no matter where they get their health insurance coverage – through an employer, Medicare and Medicaid, or the individual marketplaces that were created under the law." "The ACA is particularly critical now for millions of the newly unemployed and their families, ensuring they still have access to quality and affordable health insurance coverage during a severe public health crisis."
Charlotte Haberaecker, President and CEO, Lutheran Services in America.
“While the ACA is not perfect, the protections it has instituted for underserved groups have greatly increased their ability to access much-needed health care especially important during the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency."
"At this vital time, given our longtime commitment as a faith-based organization to meeting the health and human services needs of all people, we urge Congress and the Administration to safeguard in federal law protections for these populations throughout America."
Margaret A. Murray, CEO, Association for Community Affiliated Plans
"Even if the Court were to ultimately hold the individual mandate to be unconstitutional, it requires a strained reading to strike down the law of its entirety. It would also require a strained interpretation of the plain actions of Congress, which chose to remove the enforcement mechanism for the individual mandate but left in place the mandate itself – and the remainder of the ACA."
“If the Supreme Court strikes down the entire ACA, it would wreak havoc on the U.S. healthcare system and irreparably harm those most in need of care.”
Sr. Mary Haddad, RSM, President / CEO, Catholic Health Association of the United States
John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.