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Experts Warn of “Chaos” if Lawsuit Sparked by GOP Tax Giveaway Overturns Health Care Law

Health Care Experts: GOP Victory in Toxic Health Care Lawsuit “Would… Throw Health Care Markets, and 1/5 of the Economy, Into Chaos”

Two years after Senate Republicans’ corporate tax giveaway laid the foundation for a GOP lawsuit to tear down the Affordable Care Act, a new report from NPR lays out the consequences for millions of Americans if that toxic lawsuit succeeds. A new federal court ruling could come any day, threatening protections like “allowing adult children to stay on their parents’ health plans and requiring that insurers cover people who have preexisting health conditions… closing the notorious ‘doughnut hole’ that had left some seniors with big drug bills,” and ensuring access to preventive care and other critical benefits.

While Republicans’ health care lawsuit could do away with protections millions of Americans rely on and “throw… health care markets, and 1/5 of the economy, into chaos,” the wealthiest Americans and corporate special interests would still come out on top — just one more sign that Republicans’ tax scam isn’t working for America’s working families.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

NPR: What Else Disappears If The ACA Is Overturned?

By Julie Rovner

December 16, 2019

Key Points:

  • There’s no doubt that invalidating the ACA in whole or in large part would have a dramatic effect on the U.S. health system — and not just for those 20 million or so Americans whose coverage directly flows from the law.
  • “Billions of dollars of private and public investment — impacting every corner of the American health system — have been made based on the existence of the ACA,” said a brief filed by a bipartisan group of health policy experts. Declaring the law null and void “would upend all of those settled expectations and throw health care markets, and 1/5 of the economy, into chaos,” they wrote.
  • At issue in the ACA case is whether the language in the 2017 Republican tax bill reducing to zero the tax penalty imposed for failing to have health insurance should render the rest of the law invalid.
  • …many of the insurance protections in the ACA also protect those who have insurance through their jobs. These provisions include allowing adult children to stay on their parents’ health plans and requiring that insurers cover people who have preexisting health conditions — at no additional charge to those patients. The law also requires that ACA-compliant policies provide preventive care with no out-of-pocket cost, and it bans annual and lifetime cost limits on what insurers will cover.
  • That makes for a lot of chaos right there should the entire law disappear. But there is more.
  • Most people with a passing familiarity with the health law know it expanded the Medicaid program for those with incomes up to 138% of the poverty level (at least in states that opted into the program).
  • The law also made big changes to the Medicare program, including closing the notorious “doughnut hole” that had left some seniors with big drug bills despite having insurance. The ACA also extended coverage of preventive benefits for people who have Medicare coverage.
  • An important, though frequently overlooked portion of the health law created the first legal framework and regulatory pathway for less expensive copies of expensive, already FDA-approved biologic drugs to reach the market. Biologic drugs, which are typically antibodies, are among the most expensive medications sold and are typically used to treat life-threatening or highly debilitating ailments such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and macular degeneration.
  • Among other little-known features of the ACA is a provision that permanently authorized funding for the U.S. Indian Health Service, which provides health coverage for more than 2.5 million American Indians and Alaska Natives. An overturn of the law could leave in doubt the legality of some of the program’s operations.
  • Here’s one more provision you may not have thought about: On the theory that if more people have health insurance then more people will seek medical care, the ACA has an entire section devoted to increasing the supply of not just physicians but nurses, therapists, dentists and community health centers. Many of these training programs could founder if the ACA were overturned.

Read the full story here.

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