We have reached a critical point for the future of American health care and the fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). On June 25th, Trump’s Department of Justice (DOJ) and Republican-led states submitted their briefs in support of California v. Texas, the lawsuit seeking to strike down the ACA. If President Trump and Republicans have their way, more than 20 million Americans will lose their insurance coverage, 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions will be stripped of their protections, and costs will go up for millions. The consequences of the lawsuit for America’s health care are particularly devastating at a time the country is gripped by the coronavirus crisis which threatens the health and safety of the entire nation.
No action would be more damaging to Americans’ health and safety than if the Trump administration achieves their desired goal of overturning the ACA in its entirety during this crisis. When the court hears this case, there will likely be no vaccine and no viable treatment for the virus. When millions of Americans have already lost health insurance due to the pandemic, it’s absurd that President Trump is arguing in court that 20 million more Americans should lose their health care. And when millions of Americans who contract the coronavirus join the 135 million Americans with a pre-existing condition, President Trump will also be arguing in court to allow insurance companies to deny them coverage or charge them more. The submission of these briefs from Republican states will put the Trump administration’s politically-motivated lawsuit on full display for the American people in front of the highest court.
Days of Action: Day 10 of 12 focuses on health care for Hispanic and Latino Americans. To learn more about our Days of Action, visit our website.
What’s At Stake: Coverage for Latinos
The ACA helped reduce longstanding racial disparities in coverage rates, improving health care access for communities of color across the board. Destroying the ACA would be especially harmful as the country is still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted Latino communities nationwide.
Latinos Stand To Lose If The ACA Is Overturned. The percentage of people gaining health insurance under the ACA was higher for Latinos than for any other racial or ethnic group in the country. According to a study from Families USA, 5.4 million Latinos would lose coverage if the Texas lawsuit succeeds in overturning the ACA.
Repealing Medicaid Expansion Would Disproportionately Harm Latinos. After the implementation of the ACA, gaps in insurance coverage narrowed the most in states that adopted Medicaid expansion. Attacks on Medicaid hurt Latinos, who make up 30 percent of total Medicaid enrollees while only accounting for 18.3 percent of the U.S. population.
Research Confirms That The ACA Improved Health Care Access For Hispanic And Latino Communities:
Commonwealth Fund Study Found That The ACA’s Medicaid Expansion Has Been Key To Improving Racial Equity In Health Insurance Coverage And Access To Care. “Uninsured rates for blacks, Hispanics, and whites declined in both expansion and nonexpansion states between 2013 and 2018. In addition, disparities in coverage between whites and blacks and Hispanics also narrowed over that time period in both sets of states… People living in Medicaid expansion states benefited the most in terms of coverage gains. All three groups reported lower uninsured rates in expansion states compared to nonexpansion states, and larger coverage improvements between 2013 and 2018. Coverage disparities in expansion states narrowed the most over the period, even though the disparities were smaller to begin with. The black–white coverage gap in those states dropped from 8.4 percentage points to 3.7 points, while the difference between Hispanic and white uninsured rates fell from 23.2 points to 12.7 points.” [Commonwealth Fund, 1/16/20]
- Commonwealth Fund: The Hispanic-White Disparity In Cost-Related Access Problems Narrowed From 12.7 Percentage Points In 2013 To 8.3 Points In 2018. “Cost-related access problems among Hispanic adults fell from 27.8 percent to 21.2 percent, while those reported by whites dropped from 15.1 percent to 12.9 percent. As a result, differences narrowed between white adults and black and Hispanic adults in cost-related access problems. The black–white disparity shrank from 8.1 percentage points in 2013 to 4.7 points in 2018, while the Hispanic–white difference fell from 12.7 points to 8.3 points.” [Commonwealth Fund, 1/16/20]
Washington Post: ACA Linked To Reduced Racial Disparities, Earlier Diagnosis And Treatment In Cancer Care. “Proponents of the embattled Affordable Care Act got additional ammunition Sunday: New research links the law to a reduction in racial disparities in the care of cancer patients and to earlier diagnoses and treatment of ovarian cancer, one of the most dangerous malignancies. According to researchers involved in the racial-disparity study, before the ACA went into effect, African Americans with advanced cancer were 4.8 percentage points less likely to start treatment for their disease within 30 days of being given a diagnosis. But today, black adults in states that expanded Medicaid under the law have almost entirely caught up with white patients in getting timely treatment, researchers said. Another study showed that after implementation of the law, ovarian cancer was diagnosed at earlier stages and that more women began treatment within a month. The speedier diagnoses and treatment were likely to have increased patients’ chances of survival, the researchers said.” [Washington Post, 6/2/19]
Georgetown University Center For Children And Families: “…Medicaid Expansion Is An Important Means of Addressing Persistent Racial Disparities In Maternal Health And Maternal Mortality.” “New research shows states that expand Medicaid improve the health of women of childbearing age: increasing access to preventive care, reducing adverse health outcomes before, during and after pregnancies, and reducing maternal mortality rates. While more must be done, Medicaid expansion is an important means of addressing persistent racial disparities in maternal health and maternal mortality. The uninsured rate for women of childbearing age is nearly twice as high in states that have not expanded Medicaid compared to those that have expanded Medicaid (16 percent v. 9 percent).” [Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, May 2019]
If The ACA Is Overturned, 5.4 Million Latinos Would Lose Coverage:
Coverage losses incurred by overturning the ACA would be devastating for Latinos and reverse the significant gains in health care access made by the law.
Vox: Overturning The ACA Would Cause “A Dramatic Spike” In Uninsurance Among Hispanic People. “Everything would go: protections for preexisting conditions, subsidies that help people purchase insurance, the Medicaid expansion…States that expanded Medicaid would get the worst of it: Urban projected their uninsured rates would nearly double if the law were overturned. The uninsured rate for black Americans would increase from 11 percent today to 20 percent without Obamacare; there would also be a dramatic spike in uninsurance among Hispanics.” [Vox, 3/2/20]
5.4 Million Latinos Would Lose Coverage If The ACA Is Overturned. “Plaintiffs in Texas v. United States are asking the courts to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA). A judicial repeal of this significant domestic policy legislation would cause tremendous harm, including the loss of health insurance for millions of Latinos. As the ethnic group most likely to work in jobs without health benefits, Latinos experienced enormous coverage gains under the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid and creation of premium tax credits (PTCs) for private coverage…According to the Urban Institute, if Texas v. United States leads to the ACA’s repeal, 5.4 million Latinos would lose their health insurance.” [Families USA, June 2019]