On Friday December 14th, Judge Reed O’Conner ruled in Texas v. United States to strike the entirety of the Affordable Care (ACA), due to the unconstitutionality of the individual mandate in the law and its inseparability from the ACA as a whole. While the decision will be appealed by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and thus does not impact any coverage immediately, the ruling if upheld would take away coverage from millions of Californians and Americans.
This completely ridiculous court decision, if upheld, would be catastrophic for our health system, undoing coverage and affordability assistance for tens of millions of Americans–over five million in California alone–and undermining consumer protections, including patients with pre-existing conditions, for many more. We can’t let one right-wing judge in Texas undo all the coverage expansions and consumer protections that voters just resoundingly endorsed in the last election. We appreciate our Attorney General Xavier Becerra appealing this decision and protecting our progress here in California. 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. California’s health system is interwoven with the federal government, and we would be severely impacted if the framework and financing of the ACA were to be struck down. We are glad California is taking the lead against this decision, to prevent us from going back to the days where denials for pre-existing conditions were commonplace, and millions more uninsured.
Given the Attorney General Becerra is appealing, nothing will change immediately. Consumers should not panic, and should continue to sign up for coverage. Folks should continue to sign up for coverage before the deadline so their coverage can start January 1 and be guaranteed that peace of mind for the whole of 2019. This is a real threat to every Californian’s coverage if it is upheld–but we are confident that higher courts and cooler heads will prevail. Folks should continue to sign up for coverage, and continue to be part of the fight against those who wish to take it away.
California consumers purchasing through Covered California have until December 21st to sign up for coverage to begin on January 1, 2019. But that is not the final deadline as Californians will have until January 15th to continue to sign up for care that begins later in 2019. Sign up for coverage at www.CoveredCA.com.