Judge Reed O’Connor, a federal judge in Texas, struck down the entirety of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as unconstitutional on December 14th. This lawsuit—brought by a group of Republican attorneys general and governors—argued that because the ACA’s individual mandate had been eliminated under the GOP’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed last year, the rest of the law was invalid.
Here are three points to keep in mind about the recent ruling:
1)The ACA remains the law of the land.
Despite Judge O’Connor’s decision, the ruling does not take immediate effect and is certain to be appealed. If fact, a coalition of attorneys general, led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, have indicated they will challenge the ruling.
2) Health coverage for those who enrolled under the ACA’s 2019 Open Enrollment Period is not impacted.
If you enrolled in marketplace coverage, you should continue to pay your premium. While the federal Open Enrollment period ended on December 15, several states have extended deadlines that allow you to enroll in health care if you haven’t already. The states with extended deadlines include:
-The deadline in New York, Rhode Island, and DC is December 31.
-The deadline in Colorado is January 12.
-The deadline in Minnesota is January 13.
-The deadline in California is January 15.
-The deadline in Massachusetts is January 23.
3) This ruling is consistent with continued efforts by the Trump administration to undermine the ACA and jeopardize the health and economic security of the millions of Americans.
Whether it has been the drastic cuts to funds for outreach and enrollment assistance to help people enroll in health coverage, allowing for the sale of junk insurance plans, or various other actions, the administration has taken repeated steps to sabotage the law. If implemented, Judge O’Connor’s ruling would do away with the entire ACA, including Medicaid expansion, critical consumer protections, including preventing insurers from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, and many other provisions.
Under the ACA, 20 million people, including over four million Latino adults and 600,000 Latino children, have gained coverage, and millions more have seen improved quality and value in their health care. UnidosUS will continue to fight to protect health care for our community, and for all Americans.
Stephanie Presch is a Content Specialist for UnidosUS.
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