Changes to ACA Could Impact 1 in 3 Tennesseans

Texas v. U.S. is projected by legal scholars to be the most important case on the U.S. Supreme Court’s docket this season. (Phil Roeder/flickr)

The future of the Affordable Care Act rests in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court in a case brought to the court by the state of Texas.
While both are hundreds of miles away from Tennessee, the outcome is expected to have an impact on the coverage and protections Tennesseans may receive when it comes to their health care.
Most recently, the federal government abandoned its defense in the Texas v. U.S. case, which Kinika Young, director of children’s health for the Tennessee Justice Center, says could leave 1.2 million Tennesseans with pre-existing conditions unprotected.
“In Tennessee, we’re talking a lot of people who depend on the individual market because either they don’t qualify for Medicaid or they don’t have access to a group plan,” she points out. “You’re talking self-employed people, people who are temporarily unemployed, people who work at jobs that don’t offer group plans.”
The state of Texas is arguing that the individual mandate of the ACA is unconstitutional.
The American Medical Association and the American Cancer Society Action Network have filed briefs asking the federal court to maintain key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, including protecting people with pre-existing conditions.
Young says the most recent abandonment of the federal government’s defense of the individual mandate and pre-existing condition protections isn’t likely to hold up in court, but the development still presents a problem.
“Most people think that this argument won’t hold water, but it is concerning that the government is choosing not to enforce a law that was passed by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court previously,” she states.
The uncertainty around the ACA and reduction in federal reimbursement already is having an impact on premium costs and plan availability in Tennessee and around the country.