The U.S. Supreme Court is, once again, about to debate whether the Affordable Care Act (ACA) should be struck down. Yesterday the court announced it would hear two consolidated cases — Texas v. California and U.S. House of Representatives v. Texas — regarding the Texas Legislature's attempt to repeal Obamacare's individual mandate and thus invalidate the entire ACA. The lawsuit rests on what most legal experts consider to be shaky and bizarre legal ground, but now that President Donald Trump has stacked the court with conservative justices, it's possible this latest challenge to the ACA could work.
According to new data from the Center for American Progress (CAP), striking down the ACA would leave roughly 20 million people without health insurance — in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic. In Florida, CAP estimates released yesterday say that 1.6 million people would lose their health coverage if the latest ACA challenge is successful.
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In addition, CAP said 8.4 million Floridians would face higher premiums if they have preexisting conditions — and insurance companies would no longer be forced to issue rebates to patients if companies overcharged them. CAP stated that in 2019 alone, insurance firms gave back $104 million to Floridians they had overcharged. Florida would also lose about $9.3 billion in federal healthcare funding.
"If the Supreme Court upholds the lower court's ruling, millions of Americans will lose coverage and pay significantly more for healthcare," CAP warns. "People with preexisting conditions will once again face discrimination from insurance companies, and millionaires and billionaires will receive even more in tax cuts."
An Obamacare repeal would also devastate Miamians. For years, the Miami area has led the nation in Obamacare signups: In 2015, the Miami Herald reported that the 33012 zip code in Hialeah led the nation in ACA signups that year. In 2017, as congressional Republicans were trying to use Trump's presidency as an excuse to gut Obamacare, New Times reported that 365,000 Miamians received health coverage through an ACA exchange — the highest number in the nation. Despite that fact, then-Miami Rep. Carlos Curbelo and South Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart voted for (ultimately failed) bills that would have stripped health coverage from their constituents. As studies have repeatedly shown, those without health insurance are likelier to die from preventable or treatable diseases compared to those with coverage.