On Wednesday, Dec. 18, a federal appeals court ruled that the individual mandate included in the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional. The case was returned to the district court in Texas to determine if the rest of the law could exist without the mandate, and will likely be headed soon to the U.S. Supreme Court. While litigation is pending, the law remains in effect. WSHA coordinated an amicus brief from hospital associations across the country urging the court to uphold the law. We are grateful to the American Hospital Association for their leadership.
WSHA supports the ACA because of the tremendous increase in access to care it has meant for Washington state. Because of the law, nearly a million Washingtonians have gained insurance coverage through the Medicaid expansion or plans available on the health insurance exchange. The court’s decision puts our gains at risk and creates uncertainty for not just Washingtonians, but millions of Americans who now find their coverage threatened.
Since its establishment in 2010, the ACA has played a crucial role in providing Americans with vital health care coverage. If the entire law was dismissed, 17 million Americans could lose coverage and more than 50 million people with pre-existing medical conditions could find their future care in question.
Washington hospitals stand united in our commitment to improving access to and quality of care for our communities. While this latest decision is disheartening and creates uncertainty for the continued coverage of hundreds of thousands of Washington residents, 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 will continue to oppose the rollback of the law.