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Health-Care Advocates: Overturning ACA Would Hurt Thousands in CT

Last year, more than 111,000 people in Connecticut bought insurance through the Affordable Care Act. (Alterio Felines/pixabay)
Last year, more than 111,000 people in Connecticut bought insurance through the Affordable Care Act. (Alterio Felines/pixabay)
March 29, 2019

HARTFORD, Conn. – Hundreds of thousands in Connecticut could lose health-care coverage completely if the Affordable Care Act is overturned, according to health-care advocates.

This week the Trump administration sided with a federal court judge in Texas who ruled the entire law that gave millions of Americans access to health care is unconstitutional. Now Connecticut Attorney General William Tong has joined with 21 other state attorneys general in a brief filed with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals challenging that ruling.

Frances Padilla, president of the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, says last year more than 111,000 state residents enrolled in plans under the ACA, and almost 80,000 get subsidies to help pay for it.

"Their insurance would go from zero in some cases to $350 a month for a 27-year-old on a silver plan," says Padilla.

The 2017 federal tax law repealed the ACA's "individual mandate." The Texas judge ruled that provision was so fundamental to the law that without it, the entire law was invalid.

Padilla notes that like some other states, Connecticut has acted defensively against attacks on the ACA by incorporating some of its provisions into state law, like prohibiting discrimination based on pre-existing conditions.

"The problem is without the ACA we wouldn't have the subsidies and we wouldn't have some of the other programs that exist under the Affordable Care Act even beyond the marketplace," says Padilla.

Last year, Connecticut also passed a law requiring most insurance plans to include the ten essential benefits required by the ACA.

Even supporters of the ACA believe it needs to be improved, but they point out that millions of Americans who were uninsured ten years ago now have health insurance. And Padilla warns that the Act's opponents have yet to suggest a replacement.

"I don't see how it is possible for the federal government to eliminate the Affordable Care Act and not account to 20 million people," says Padilla.

The attorneys general argue that even without the individual mandate, there is no legal basis for overturning other provisions of the ACA.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT