I need to make one thing clear: no one’s health insurance is in immediate jeopardy. Still, the Affordable Care Act is now facing its biggest threat. The possibility that 20 million insured Americans will lose their coverage is now real. There is a chance those with preexisting conditions will no longer have the opportunity to purchase coverage. Children under the age of 26 currently getting insurance from their parents’s policy could soon be uninsured.
Last night Judge Reed O’Connor, nominated by George W. Bush, of the Federal District Court in Fort Worth, Texas declared the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. A group of 16 Democratic attorneys general, defending the suit because the Trump administration refused, will appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. No matter what happens there, this case is headed for the Supreme Court.
In his ruling, Judge O’Connor sided with 19 Republican governors and attorneys general who argued the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional because Congress repealed the individual mandate as a part of the Republican tax bill.
If the Supreme Court sides with Judge O’Connor and the Republicans who filed suit, 20 million Americans would lose insurance right away. Up to 133 million Americans would face a loss of insurance, much higher premiums, and/or the inability to ever again purchase insurance.
Since 2009, Republicans have been lying about the Affordable Care Act while refusing to propose a reasonable alternative. Now, potentially a third of Americans are at risk of losing coverage or being unable to afford it.
The reckless irresponsibility of Republicans means this entire debate and the 133 million lives that could be ruined by the outcome, depends on the Supreme Court not becoming the right-wing echo chamber many of us fear. In 18 months or less, millions of lives will be brutalized by years of Republican lies, an inability to govern, and a culture that is void of compassion.