If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you know that key components of the Affordable Care Act are at risk due to a constitutional challenge set forth by several Republican-led states and backed by the U.S. Justice Department.
Back in 2012, when attacks on the ACA were first being waged, Chief Justice John Roberts was able to justify the law and its individual mandate penalty by labeling it a “tax”, as the federal government has the power to tax under the U.S. Constitution. However, 20 Republican-led states and the U.S. Justice Department are now arguing the ACA is unconstitutional because Trump’s new tax law zeroes out the individual mandate penalty, meaning that the penalty for not having health insurance will be $0 effective next year.
If the ACA’s individual mandate is deemed unconstitutional, the U.S. Justice Department believes two key provisions of the law would also be invalid. One of these provisions requires insurers to offer coverage to everyone regardless of their health background, and the other prevents insurers from charging more to people who are sick or have pre-existing conditions.
The thought of taking coverage away from people who need it most is scary, as it could result in higher premium costs for some consumers, poorer health outcomes, and more preventable deaths. However, it is important to remember that this latest attack on the ACA is only a challenge to the law; it does not change the fact that the ACA is still the law of the land. Several Democratic state attorneys general have received permission to defend the ACA in this case. And, according to Kaiser Health News, the lawsuit could go all the way to the Supreme Court, which could take years to resolve.
NC Get Covered will continue monitoring this situation and keep you abreast of any changes/updates. In the meantime, you can show your support for the ACA by spreading the word that:
- The ACA is still the law.
- The Health Insurance Marketplace is still open. Consumers with certain qualifying life events (such as losing health insurance coverage, moving, getting married, or having a baby) may still be eligible to enroll in 2018 coverage through a Special Enrollment Period. These consumers have up to 60 days from the qualifying life event to enroll in a plan.
- In-person assistance is still available. Consumers who have questions about their coverage or think they may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period can schedule a free appointment with a local assister by calling 1-855-733-3711 or visiting NCNavigator.net.
Thank you for your support,
NC Get Covered staff