Below is a statement from Justice in Aging’s Executive Director Kevin Prindiville on yesterday’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Yesterday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate is unconstitutional, and remanded the case to the District court to clarify whether the rest of the ACA can stand without the mandate. For now, the ACA remains in place without the mandate, but, if the law is invalidated, the health of millions of older Americans and their families is at risk.
The ACA is a lifeline for older adults and people with disabilities. If the ACA is ultimately found unconstitutional, 100 million Americans with pre-existing conditions and the 20 million people who gained coverage through Medicaid expansion would face higher health care costs or lose access to coverage entirely. Populations of color who saw the greatest coverage gains under the ACA would be particularly harmed.
District Court Judge Reed O’Connor, who previously ruled that the entire ACA should be struck down, is unlikely to make a different decision a second time. Rather, today’s decision only serves as a delay, causing uncertainty, fear, and disruption in the current health insurance market and in the lives of older adults, their families, and all Americans.