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Nevada Groups Criticize Administration's Move to Kill ACA

The fight over health care heats up again in federal court, as the Trump administration argues that the Affordable Care Act became unconstitutional once Congress eliminated the individual mandate. (Save My Care)
The fight over health care heats up again in federal court, as the Trump administration argues that the Affordable Care Act became unconstitutional once Congress eliminated the individual mandate. (Save My Care)
March 27, 2019

CARSON CITY, Nev. - Some Nevada groups are slamming a move by the Trump administration to have the Affordable Care Act thrown out in court.

On Tuesday, the Justice Department indicated in a Texas federal court filing that it now wants the judge to declare the entire Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. Previously, the Justice Department had asked the court only to invalidate protections for people with pre-existing conditions, but otherwise keep the law intact.

Amanda Khan, programs director for the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, said it would be disastrous for the Silver State if the ACA were to be struck down.

"It would absolutely devastate Nevadans," she said. "An attack on the ACA would roll back the Medicaid expansion and affect over 600,000 Nevadans."

About 20 million Americans gained health insurance when the Affordable Care Act financed a large expansion of Medicaid. According to the United Health Foundation, 23 percent of Nevadans lacked health insurance in 2013, before the ACA went into effect. By 2018, the state's uninsured rate had dropped to 11.3 percent.

ACA opponents say it gives the government too much control over health care and doesn't do enough to control costs.

On Tuesday, Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford joined 20 other state AGs who have intervened in the Texas case in support of the Affordable Care Act. Khan said the ACA has made health care more affordable by subsidizing premiums for some people, and keeping insurance companies from rejecting people with pre-existing conditions or charging them more.

"If you can't afford health care, there is no access, even if health care is available," Khan said. "So, the ACA is a key reason why hundreds and thousands of Nevadans are able to afford health care and have access to health care."

The Nevada Legislature currently is considering Senate Bill 235, which would protect Nevadans with pre-existing conditions in case the ACA is struck down.

The Texas vs. U.S. lawsuit is online at documentcloud.org, the AGs' motion to intervene is at ag.nv.gov, and SB 235 is at leg.sgtate.nv.us.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV