Future of Affordable Care Act Uncertain After Court Ruling

Court Ruling leaves Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) provisions in place, including protections for pre-existing conditions for people with ALS and other Americans. But court keeps long-term future of ACA in limbo.

The ALS Association joins with other leading patient advocacy organization in a joint statement expressing disappointment on a ruling in the Texas v. United States court case which challenges the legality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The statement was signed by 27 other groups including American Heart, American Lung, American Diabetes, MDA. See the full statement here.  

What is most important for people living with ALS and their families to know is that the decision left the Affordable Care Act in place for the moment. This means that protections for pre-existing conditions stay in place. Coverage purchased from healthcare.gov remains valid and coverage provided by states under Medicaid expansion continues.  

However, the ruling left the ACA in limbo by affirming the unconstitutionality of the individual mandate and by sending the case back to a lower court to decide if key patient protections will remain in the future.

The Texas v. United States court case is expected to end up in the Supreme Court eventually. But the decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals pushes any Supreme Court action on ACA until after the 2020 election and extends the uncertainty surrounding the future of the landmark law.  

Texas v. United States was brought by the state of Texas and a coalition of Republican states. President Trump’s administration also joined law suit to dismantle ACA.

The recent ruling should not affect the millions of Americans who signed up for 2020 coverage on the exchanges in recent weeks. Protections for those with preexisting conditions – one of the law’s most popular provisions – remain in effect.

The court case is part of what once was considered a long-shot attempt to eliminate the Affordable Care Act after a Republican-led congressional attempt failed. But two courts have now sided with the argument that a key part of ACA – the individual mandate requiring Americans to purchase health insurance – is no longer constitutional.

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