ACA Ruling in Texas v US : What does it mean?


We have been closely watching and following the aftermath of the recent ruling by a federal district court judge (Texas v US) that declared the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional.

As a member of the Cancer Leadership Council, we signed on to a joint statement about this ruling and its potential impact on people with cancer and cancer survivors.

We want to emphasize this key point:  The Affordable Care Act remains in place pending appeal.

More from the CLC letter:

Our organizations, representing the millions of Americans diagnosed with cancer, express serious concerns about the decision that invalidates the Affordable Care Act. This ruling would eliminate the protections that are critical to people with cancer, including pre-existing condition protections, benefit standards, and cost-sharing protections. These are the provisions of the Affordable Care Act that have protected access to adequate and affordable health insurance for people with cancer.

The decision of the federal district court takes us back to a time before the Affordable Care Act when people with cancer were routinely denied insurance.

Our first act will be to communicate to people with cancer that the law will remain in place pending appeal. Those who purchase insurance through the exchanges and those who are covered by Medicaid can rest assured that their coverage is protected during the appeal process. And all Americans who benefit from the consumer protections of the Affordable Care Act will continue to enjoy those protections.

You can find the full letter - and our other recent policy letters - here.

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The Department of Health and Human Services issued a statement that also underscored the key point that this ruling is not a final say. Since the court did not issue an injunction, the agency will continue to administer and enforce the ACA uninterrupted. In fact, the Administration will continue to enforce the ACA until the Supreme Court weighs in, which won’t happen until 2020 at the earliest.

The American Medical Association also weighed in on the decision (4 Things Physicians Should Know), outlining what’s at stake for patients. For those with cancer, here are three of the ACA protections that groups like the AMA and CLC are most concerned about:

  • Access to their parents’ plan coverage for young adults up to age 26.

  • Elimination of annual and lifetime caps on benefits.

  • No pre-existing condition coverage exclusions or medical underwriting.

For more, visit the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation for an in-depth policy analysis.

Kaiser writes: “More than eight years after enactment, ACA changes to the nation’s health system have become embedded and affect nearly everyone in some way. A court decision that invalidated the ACA, therefore, would also affect nearly everyone in at least some way. “