I was dismayed when I heard late Friday evening that a federal judge from my home state of Texas ruled the entire Affordable Care Act unconstitutional because Congress repealed the tax penalty enforcing the law’s individual mandate. In partnership with the American Hospital Association, WSHA has reviewed the decision. We at WSHA disagree with the decision and strongly endorse a planned appeal.
Washington state is all-in on the ACA. The ruling puts health coverage at risk for hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians, including those with chronic and pre-existing conditions.
While this decision was very disappointing and we disagree with it strongly, we are pleased that the Affordable Care Act will remain fully effective in its current form as the case winds its way through the courts. In our state, it is full speed ahead on improving access to and quality of care for our citizens. It is true that the decision creates uncertainty about the long-term future of the ACA, but we and our members must continue our active work to help people enroll in the program and use the health coverage they badly need.
We at WSHA believe the court ruling was wrong and won’t be upheld on appeal. We expect the decision will spark political activity in Congress. We will work to preserve access to health care for Washingtonians in our interactions with our Congressional delegation. We also will be joining the American Hospital Association and other state hospital associations in filing an amicus brief in support of health care access and in opposition to the ruling.
WSHA President & CEO
Editor’s note: As we go to press, it is unclear whether there will be a partial federal government shutdown at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday. If a shutdown does occur, Medicare and Medicaid payments will not be affected. Other HHS programs have also been funded for the entire fiscal year and will not be affected.