On Wednesday, Jan. 15, WSHA joined a group of 33 state hospital associations filing an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to accept review of a case decided by the Fifth Circuit with the goal of preserving the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The filing of the brief follows a ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld a Texas District Court’s decision that the ACA’s individual mandate was unconstitutional. The appeals court ruling left open the question of how much of the ACA could remain in place without the individual mandate. Instead, the appeals court sent the question back to the Texas court for further consideration. The Texas court had previously ruled that the individual mandate could not be “severed” from the rest of the ACA and held if the mandate was unconstitutional the entire ACA would fall.
The associations argue that the appeals court ruling was wrongly decided and that the Supreme Court should take up the question because of the sweeping impact the decision will have on health care across the country. The brief outlines that implementation of the law’s reforms have resulted in the delivery of higher-quality and more coordinated care at a lower cost. Reverting back to old delivery models would significantly disrupt patient care and hospital and health system operations. The repeal of the ACA would also jeopardize health care coverage for hundreds of thousands of people in Washington State and millions across the country.