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Statement: The Affordable Care Act Is Still Law of the Land Despite Texas v. Azar Decision to Strike It Down

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 15, 2018

CONTACT:  Vincent DeMarco, 410-591-9162

The Affordable Care Act Is Still Law of the Land Despite Texas v. Azar Decision to Strike It Down
Statement of Vincent DeMarco, President of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative

Despite last night’s misguided decision in Texas v. Azar, the Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land. Today is the last day of open enrollment. To get covered, Marylanders should go to www.marylandhealthconnection.gov or download the mobile app. The Maryland Health Connection call center (1-855-642-8572) is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. today.

Nonetheless, the decision by District Court Judge Reed O’Connor striking down the entirety of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marks a devastating blow to the health security of Marylanders. We hope that a higher court will reverse it based on weak legal grounding and the grave harm overturning the ACA would cause to millions of Marylanders and Americans nationwide.  In addition, this decision makes it even more important that the 2019 Session of the Maryland General Assembly protect the ACA in Maryland by enacting the proposed health insurance down payment proposal to incentivize Marylanders to get insured and make health insurance coverage more affordable for everyone.

Judge O’Connor’s ruling contradicts two prior Supreme Court rulings upholding the constitutionality of the ACA and sides with the 17 attorneys general and two governors who filed the politically motivated lawsuit to gut the ACA after Congress failed to repeal it.

If the ruling is upheld by a higher court, 3.5 million Marylanders could lose their health care coverage or face higher premiums due to their age, gender, or a pre-existing condition. Furthermore, this decision threatens both the ACA’s Medicaid expansion as well as the availability of financial assistance for consumers purchasing coverage in the individual market that have enabled over 400,000 Marylanders to gain access to quality, affordable healthcare.

Striking down the entirety of the ACA would also strip away many consumer protections enshrined within the law and beloved by the public, including protections for young people under the age of 27 to stay on a parent’s health plan and the elimination of out-of-pocket expenses for many preventive services.

Polls consistently show the public supports the ACA, with 75 percent in favor or maintaining the ACA’s protections for pre-existing conditions. On behalf of the Maryland Health Care For All! Coalition, we commend the members of the Maryland Congressional Delegation, all but one of whom has made clear their staunch support for the ACA. We applaud Attorney General Brian Frosh for filing a lawsuit to uphold the constitutionality of the ACA in September. We hope this ruling will be appealed, and that a higher court will reverse this decision.