By Barrett White
This isn’t the first time the state of Texas has sued the federal government in its opposition to the Affordable Care Act. But this time Texas Republicans may actually have the advantage needed to take Obamacare down.
The Lay of the Land: Texas filed the suit earlier this year, arguing the law is now unconstitutional. The Administration has agreed, refusing to defend the law. So, we wait. The case is now with U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, a north Texas judge who has a history of challenging the Obama administration on other rulings, such as transgender protections. No matter how the judge rules, it’s possible the U.S. Supreme Court could ultimately hear the case.
What This Means: Potentially a lot. If courts side with Texas in its suit, then the most popular provision of Obamacare that made insurance companies cover people no matter their medical history could be terminated.
Legacy Community Health’s CEO, Katy Caldwell, remembered that “[t]here was a time when insurance companies refused coverage or jacked up the rates for people who had pre-existing conditions such as cancer, diabetes, HIV or Alzheimer’s and even for babies born with a congenital heart disease. That was insanity. Treating sickness — and paying for it — is the very reason why people have insurance in the first place.”
“There’s probably not a person in the United States that would not be affected in some way,” if ACA was repealed, says Tim Jost, emeritus professor at Washington and Lee University, “It would affect the Medicare program, it would affect employer coverage, it would affect the uninsured, it would affect people on Medicaid. It would be a huge shock to the system.”
According to the Urban Institute, 17 million Americans could lose coverage entirely.