With the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals set to rule any day on the lawsuit, Texas vs. Azar, the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is in grave peril again.
If the Fifth Circuit upholds the lower court ruling - and the United States Supreme Court agrees - the entire Affordable Care Act would be overturned. And despite the state Legislature's recent efforts to enact many of the ACA protections into Washington state law, such a decision would be financially catastrophic to the state and its citizens.
In a starkly worded letter to Washington's congressional delegation, Gov. Jay Inslee, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler and Washington Health Benefit Exchange CEO Pam MacEwan detailed what's at risk in the highly anticipated court case.
They laid out that if the Affordable Care Act is overturned, Washington state will lose $2.8 billion annually in federal funds and more than 700,000 could lose coverage.
- $2.3 billion cut in annual federal funding to pay for Medicaid expansion coverage means 600,000 newly eligible enrollees would lose health coverage.
- A $519 million cut in annual federal funding to pay for premium subsidies means 118,000 people lose the financial assistance that helps them afford health insurance.
"This would have massive implications for people with pre-existing conditions and others who rely on the law's reforms, such as women and older adults," the leaders wrote. "A court decision that makes coverage unaffordable for many would effectively undermine these consumer protections and erode the safety net we have fought to preserve."
Despite the state's best efforts, the leaders said the impact of such a decision is beyond their ability to prevent and called on congressional leaders to join them in opposing this latest assault on the Affordable Care Act and fight to protect the health and well-being of our state.
Read the full letter.