Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Federal Dist Court Ruling Must Be Overturned Millions in FL Could Lose Health Insurance

LAKE MARY, FL – On Friday night, Federal District Court Judge Reed O’Connor struck down the entire Affordable Care Act in Texas v. Azar, claiming the law was unconstitutional.

Friday night’s ruling puts at risk the millions of people who use the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to access marketplace subsidies and get crucial health services, like pre-natal care or mental health services. Unless the appeals court reverses this decision, O’Connor’s ruling will end the support for insurance coverage that fueled the historic coverage gains achieved under the ACA.

If the decision is not reversed, we will be going backwards to a time when people with pre-existing conditions — like diabetes and asthma — could be denied coverage or face exorbitantly high rates.

According to 2015 data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, there are more than 3.1 million nonelderly adults in Florida who have pre-existing conditions who are at risk.  Florida has seen a substantial drop in its rate of uninsured residents following the implementation of ACA’s coverage provisions.

In 2010, 21.5 percent had no health care coverage; in 2017, 12.9 percent of residents remained insured. This reduction is primarily the result of the ACA’s health insurance coverage provisions, including marketplace subsidies.

This decision also threatens Florida's future ability to expand its Medicaid program to provide coverage to more than 600,000 uninsured low-income residents.

Florida is one of the plaintiffs in this lawsuit. We strongly urge state Attorney General-elect Ashley Moody to withdraw from the lawsuit. We hope that this catastrophic ruling is reversed. In the meantime, it's critical for Floridians to know that the ACA remains the law of the land and all of its benefits and consumer protections remain intact." 

Holly Bullard is the chief strategy and operations officer for the Florida Policy Institute, an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing state policies and budgets that improve the economic mobility and quality of life for all Floridians.

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