The Future of the Affordable Care Act

October 21, 2020

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How November Can Bring Change to the ACA 

Since the 2010 passing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the act has been highly controversial. Though the entire bill enacted many new changes to the face of healthcare in America, one of the biggest controversies of the bill was the tax penalty individual mandate for health insurance. The act mandated that all Americans have some sort of health insurance coverage by the end of the year that the act was passed. If you were found to have no health insurance coverage by the end of the year, you were punished with an income tax penalty.  

This became highly controversial very quickly because of the idea that Congress does not have the power to enact tax penalties at the federal level. There were also arguments against the ACA pertaining to the idea that it is “unconstitutional” for the federal government to mandate that people buy private goods. In this case, “private goods” being health insurance.  

Over the past 10 years, some people have called for the act to be overturned by the supreme court due to the controversial tax penalty created by Congress. In 2017, Texas, along with 19 other states teamed together to “fight” the ACA health insurance individual mandate in court. The case was originally overruled. Then in 2019, an appeals court ruled that the health insurance individual mandate was indeed unconstitutional. Flash forward one year to 2020, the case (now titled California v. Texas) is set to hit the Supreme Court this November.  

Many legal experts and congress people have speculated that if the insurance mandate is unconstitutional, then the entire ACA will be overturned. The Supreme Court could possibly overturn the ACA because the remaining parts of the ACA are not “severable” from the insurance individual mandate. To help understand this, imagine that you have a necklace that has been tangled, and you realize that it is unsalvageable and must be thrown out. This is how some members of the Supreme Court and Congress view the ACA as it stands with the insurance individual mandate.  

Overturning the entire ACA has also raised concern for some. For instance, the ACA is what made it so insurers could not refuse coverage for those who have pre-existing conditions. The ACA also made it so children can remain on their parent or guardian’s health insurance until age 26. Ultimately, the ACA over the past 10 years has left an impact in some way or another on almost every person in America.  

Only time will tell what the future of American healthcare will look like. If you would like your voice to be heard more in government decisions; vote! Showing up to vote, can be the first start to advocating for yourself and others. November may be just around the corner, but it is not too late to vote. So, contact your local voter registration office to register, and check out Layla's blog on voting to learn more!

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