The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit struck down the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate on Wednesday. The court then returned the case to a district judge to consider whether other parts of the law can remain intact after the ruling. Alabama Arise policy director Jim Carnes issued the following statement Thursday in response:
“This appalling decision puts health coverage at risk for tens of millions of people. And it imperils important consumer protections for every single American. The ruling won’t affect the 2020 marketplace coverage that Alabamians have signed up for under the Affordable Care Act. But it poses a long-term threat to the health and well-being of our people and our communities.
“Let’s be clear about what’s at stake if the ACA disappears. Tens of millions of Americans who gained coverage through Medicaid expansion would lose their insurance. Young adults would lose the right to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26. Coverage guarantees for people with preexisting health conditions like cancer and diabetes would vanish. And insurers no longer would have to cover vital services like maternity care, mental health care or treatment for substance use disorders.
“We can’t afford to go back to those bad old days. This rehashed assault on health coverage flies in the face of settled law, public opinion and common sense. And this ruling should be a call to action for Alabama. Our families and our workforce deserve the same opportunity as all other Americans to stay healthy and productive. We urge our lawmakers to expand Medicaid and move toward a future where everyone can get the health care they need to survive and thrive.”