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GOP Lawsuit Threatens Medicaid Expansion As Enrollment Grows Amid Pandemic [WaPo]

Anti-ACA Lawsuit Enabled By Senate Republicans Could Affect Coverage For More Than One In Five Americans Who Rely on Medicaid For Health Insurance

It couldn’t be clearer that health care is on the ballot in November as new reporting from the Washington Post highlights the threat the Republican-led lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act poses to Medicaid expansion. If successful, the GOP lawsuit would not only gut protections for the millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions, it would also take away coverage from the 15 million Americans enrolled in Medicaid under the ACA’s expansion. 

Amid a global public health and economic crisis, with millions of Americans newly unemployed and uninsured, nearly 4 million Americans gained coverage through Medicaid between February and June and over the spring and early summer enrollment grew by another 6.2%. That means that “more than one in five Americans – about 75 million – now rely on Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program for their coverage.” And “the outcome of the ACA lawsuit could affect their coverage.” 

Just one week after the election, the Supreme Court is preparing to hear oral arguments in the Republican lawsuit that threatens health coverage for millions of Americans. Reminder: Senate Republican incumbents and candidates are on record either supporting or refusing to oppose this lawsuit and Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are furiously rushing to fill the Supreme Court vacancy with a nominee hostile to the Affordable Care Act, further increasing “the court’s chances of knocking down some or all of the 2010 health care law.”

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Washington Post: The Health 202: Republican-backed ACA lawsuit also threatens Medicaid as enrollment grows during pandemic

By Paige Winfield Cunningham

October 9, 2020 

Key Points:

  • Democrats have spent the 2020 campaign – now in its final weeks – hyper-focused on the Republican-backed legal threat that could undo Obamacare’s protections for patients with preexisting medical conditions. 
  • But the health-care law’s Medicaid expansion played a bigger role in extending health coverage – and is now enrollment is surging amid the coronavirus pandemic. Coverage for Americans enrolled in this program is also threatened by the lawsuit.
  • Nearly 4 million more people enrolled in the health insurance program for the low income between February and June.
  • Medicaid enrollment grew 6.2 percent over the spring and early summer, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported this week.
  • More than one in five Americans – about 75 million – now rely on Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program for their coverage.
  • Many states have seen double-digit percentage increases in their Medicaid enrollment during the pandemic. 
  • “That 13.5 percent increase places Nevada among at least three states, along with Kentucky and Minnesota, where the cadre of people on Medicaid has spiked that much,” Amy wrote. “But increases are widespread: Caseloads had risen on average 8.4 percent through July in 30 states for which researchers have enrollment information. And in 14 states with enrollment data through August, the average is 10 percent.”
  • Around 15 million of Medicaid enrollees nationwide are eligible for the program because of the Affordable Care Act, which gave states dollars to expand their programs to earners up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level.
  • The outcome of the ACA lawsuit could affect their coverage.
  • Just days after the election, the court is scheduled to hear a lawsuit challenging the ACA’s constitutionality. The confirmation of conservative nominee Amy Coney Barrett – a process the Senate is embarking upon in 10 days – could increase the court’s chances of knocking down some or all of the 2010 health care law.
  • Some ACA advocates have noted the much broader impact of tossing out the health care law, beyond those with preexisting conditions.
  • Preexisting condition protections are especially popular, with 72 percent of Americans saying it’s “very important” they stay in place.
  • And were the court to toss out any part of the ACA, the preexisting condition protections would be the first to go.

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