Advocates push for state protections if Supreme Court overturns ACA

    Demonstrators protest changes to the Affordable Care Act on June 22, 2017 | Scott Olson/Getty Images)
    Demonstrators protest changes to the Affordable Care Act on June 22, 2017 (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

    The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Monday to hear oral arguments in October in a case that seeks to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA), with a ruling expected after the 2020 presidential election. 

    “The timing cynically capitulates to the Trump Administration’s politically-motivated request to move until after the 2020 election what would be one of the most unpopular decisions in American history,” said Robert Kraig, executive director ofCitizen Action of Wisconsin.

    Wisconsin’s Attorney General Josh Kaul withdrew the state from a lawsuit against the ACA, Texas vs. United States, in which the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the ACA’s individual mandate, requiring people who choose to remain uninsured to pay a penalty, keeping the program fully funded. The Supreme Court will hear arguments for going further, invalidating the entire ACA, including protections against denying health care coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. 

    According to a recent study by the Urban Institute, 153,000 Wisconsinites would have their health coverage taken away if the ACA were struck down.

    Citizen Action is urging lawmakers to codify the ACA’s consumer protections and health insurance regulations in state law to protect Wisconsinites in the event of a damaging U.S. Supreme Court decision. It is also pushing to expand federal subsidies to make health insurance more affordable.

    “The nullification of the ACA by right-wing judges is a predictable human-made disaster that would wreak havoc with the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites,” said Kraig. “We urge state lawmakers to take action to put the popular federal protections against pre-existing condition discrimination and other insurance industry abuses in state law, and beyond the reach of activist federal judges.”

    Ruth Conniff
    Ruth Conniff is Editor-in-chief of the Wisconsin Examiner. She formerly served as Editor-in-chief of The Progressive Magazine, and opened the Progressive’s office in Washington, DC, during the Clinton Administration, where she made her debut as a political pundit on CNN’s Capital Gang Sunday and Fox News. She moved to Oaxaca, Mexico, for a year in 2017, where she covered U.S./Mexico relations, the migrant caravan, and Mexico’s efforts to grapple with Donald Trump. Conniff is a frequent guest on All in with Chris Hayes on MSNBC and has appeared on Good Morning America, Democracy Now!, Wisconsin Public Radio, and other radio and television programs. In 2011, she did award-winning coverage of the uprising against Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin. She has also written for The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications. Conniff graduated from Yale University in 1990, where she ran track and edited the campus magazine The New Journal.