The future of the Affordable Care Act could be left in the balance if the U.S. Supreme Court deems it unconstitutional. The novel coronavirus’ disastrous impact on the economy left many Americans’ health care programs in question. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s recent passing is also causing the ACA to be a divisive issue after the 2020 presidential election. Amy Coney Barrett was named the nation’s latest Supreme Court justice on Oct. 26. However, her position on the constitutionality of the ACA is unknown. While President Donald Trump and other conservatives want the ACA repealed and replaced, what the replacement will look like is uncertain. Democrats argue it would be catastrophic for Americans from all socio-economic backgrounds if the ACA were repealed or held unconstitutional in the absence of a concrete replacement plan.
The ACA is complex. Passed into law in 2010 under the Obama administration, it was meant to expand affordable health care to millions of Americans. People who are below 138 percent of the federal poverty line can opt for Medicaid, whereas adults 65 or older qualify for Medicare. Others have the option of buying their own private health care plans, according to healthcare.gov.
The ACA has four central components. It provides coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, requires businesses to provide health insurance if they have 50 or more employees, prevents price discrimination for female services and allows individuals who are 26 and younger to stay on their parents’ health care plans. Critics argue that those not entitled to subsidies, especially young and healthy adults, pay far more in insurance than they are likely to receive in benefits. This is one of the reasons why the individual mandate was repealed.
In Florida alone, an estimated 1,913,975 Floridians enrolled in the ACA in 2020, according to healthinsurance.org. The outlet also reported the Sunshine State had the highest uptick in ACA enrollments than any other state this year.
Floridians on subsidized health care worry they will no longer be able to afford health insurance if the ACA is repealed in the Supreme Court.
Florida is one of 12 states that refused to expand Medicaid in 2020, healthinsurance.org reported. The website said 1,362,000 people would be covered if Florida opted to increase ACA coverage. There are roughly 400,000 Floridians who fall in the “coverage gap.” These are individuals who are not eligible for Medicaid and tax subsidies to afford private health insurance.
While there are thousands of Floridians who do not qualify for ACA programs, thousands more would lose their health insurance plans altogether if it is repealed.
Although the individual mandate was unconstitutional since it forced people to pay for health insurance they could not afford, repealing the ACA in its entirety is not the best option, either. Scrambling to craft an alternate plan in Congress could leave both parties in constant disagreement.
There are plenty of conservatives who are not in favor of overturning the decade-old health care program. Mayor Carlos Gimenez, for example, is a moderate Republican who was just elected to District 26’s congressional seat.
“Obamacare is going through some challenges right now,” said Gimenez. “We need to fix Obamacare. I’m not in favor of repealing it; I’m in favor of making it better and more affordable for our citizens who rely on Obamacare.”
America should have public and private health insurance plans. Socialized medicine would not only price doctors and private health insurance companies out of the market, it would also add a tremendous economic burden on American taxpayers. The United States cannot afford it. Socialized medicine would also result in mediocre services that would weaken our country’s health care system as a whole. Trump is fighting to reduce prescription drug costs, including insulin, for millions of Americans. He recently signed four executive orders in July that will force the Department of Health and Human Services to address this ongoing issue, according to the White House.