The U.S. Justice Department filed a letter earlier this week indicating a major shift in position, agreeing with a December 2018 ruling by Judge Reed O’Conner in Texas vs. United States to strike the entirety of the Affordable Care (ACA), due to the supposed unconstitutionality of the individual mandate in the law and its inseparability from the ACA as a whole. California AG Xavier Becerra is leading the appeal, given the catastrophic impact in California on coverage and consumer protections. If the ACA were to be struck down, California would lose over $25 billion for our health system which is more than CA spends on higher education and prisons combined. It would also undo all pre-existing condition protections, as well as eliminate premium subsidies, expanded Medicaid, preventive services, and much more.
This latest Trump Administration legal attack on our health system goes from callous to catastrophic. The Trump Administration is now seeking to use the courts to undo all the coverage expansions and consumer protections that voters just resoundingly endorsed in the last election.
California has the most to lose from this legal attack on the ACA. California saw the largest drop in the uninsured rate of all 50 states since 2013, after having one of the highest rates in the nation. What the Texas judge ruled, and the Justice Department is now agreeing with, is to defund California’s health system by tens of billions of dollars. While California can and has done a lot to counter the federal government’s sabotage of our health system, this outcome advocated by the Trump Administration may be too overwhelming to overcome.
California must continue to fight, against the Trump Administration’s doubling down on seeking to go back to the days of denials for pre-existing conditions, and millions more uninsured.