According to a story from newsroom.heart.org, one of the most substantial domestic policy achievements of the Obama administration was the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Since its passage, the law has faced steady legal challenges. Such challenges continue to this day and threaten to render the law unconstitutional. As the future of the ACA hangs in the balance, a variety of patient groups have submitted an amicus curae to the US Supreme Court to take up the case as soon as possible to dispel uncertainty.
The Rare Community Steps In
A diverse number of patient groups participated in the brief. Some of the groups involved included the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, National Hemophilia Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Muscular Dystrophy Association, The National Organization for Rare Disorders, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The primary reason for the brief is due to concerns from these organizations about the uncertainty that appears if the case, titled Texas v. United States, is left to stew in the lower courts.
Uncertainty and Instability
The predicament points to the inherent instability and variability of a market-based system for health coverage. Since the law could be subject to rapid changes pending a decision, the health insurance market is left without stable rules for coverage and pricing. It also leaves patients that rely on the ACA and federal tax credits to get coverage without a definite understanding if they will be able to obtain coverage that they can afford in the future. It would hardly be surprising to see the industry respond to the continued uncertainty by raising premiums even further.
These patient groups generally recognize that the law has been helpful to their patients and has allowed a greater number of people to get coverage, giving them a better chance at getting the treatment that they need. Access to proper coverage can have a decisive effect on outcomes for patients. Only a rapid decision in this case will allow patients to plan for the future.
Check out the full text of this briefing here.