On Friday, a federal judge struck down the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as unconstitutional in Texas v. United States. The case, brought by 20 states, successfully challenged the constitutionality of the ACA after the repeal of the individual mandate in December 2017.
While the result is extremely disappointing, some states are appealing the ruling and the administration confirmed the law is still in place. This means that the health care law remains unchanged for now and people who purchased health care for 2019 from healthcare.gov will remain covered and the millions of Americans who have Medicaid coverage through expansion will also remain insured. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will be monitoring the case closely and continue to keep the community updated.
If the ruling were to go into effect, it would allow insurers to return to coverage and pricing practices that discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. It would also lift the ban on annual and lifetime caps and eliminate the requirement that insurers in the individual market cover essential health benefits, such as hospitalizations and mental health services. If the ACA were to be overturned, employers would be allowed to return to the practice of implementing waiting periods, a given time period before health insurance covers services for a pre-existing condition. Another important at-risk provision of the ACA allows young people to stay on their parents' insurance until age 26.
“Our concern is how this ruling could ultimately impact people with cystic fibrosis and other pre-existing conditions,” said Mary Dwight, senior vice president of policy and advocacy at the CF Foundation. “We will continue to be vigilant and advocate for meaningful health insurance that supports the highly specialized care people with CF need to live longer and healthier lives.”
The ruling comes after the Department of Justice (DOJ)'s decision earlier this summer to not defend pre-existing condition protections in this case. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia intervened to defend the ACA, noting that invalidating key components of the act would threaten the health care of millions of Americans.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation joined 37 patient groups to speak out against the ruling.
Take action by telling members of Congress to restore critical protections for people with pre-exisiting conditions.