Patient groups urge U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Affordable Care Act

The American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and 18 other patient advocacy groups have joined forces to encourage the U.S. Supreme Court not to invalidate the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The ACA is once again at risk of being overturned as the Supreme Court starts hearing oral arguments in the case of California v. Texas.

“The coronavirus pandemic has only served to underscore the necessity of meaningful coverage– especially for those who are at high risk of being severely affected by the virus—including countless Americans who have pre-existing, acute or chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, lung diseases and multiple sclerosis,” the groups said in a joint statement. “If the entire health care law is invalidated, health plans could once again deny coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition, set arbitrary lifetime and annual limits on care, and skirt essential benefits necessary to prevent and treat acute conditions. The link between access to comprehensive health coverage and patient outcomes is well established.”

The groups also emphasized that the ACA has led to “significant shifts toward early-stage diagnosis for several common cancers,” improvements in the health and care of individuals with mental health disorders and better care for women before, during and after pregnancies.

“Eliminating the law could quickly reverse these gains,” according to the statement. “It also would jeopardize the federal tax credits that make health insurance more affordable for millions of Americans, threatening their access to critical health coverage, and rescind Medicaid expansion funding, crippling the safety net health insurance program at a time when millions more unemployed Americans have no alternate coverage option.”

The patient groups filed an amicus brief back in May 2020 to explain why they think keeping the ACA is so important to both healthcare providers and the patients they serve.