A federal appeals court in New Orleans dealt another blow to the Affordable Care Act last week, saying the requirement under the law to have health insurance is unconstitutional. But the court sidestepped the question of whether the health law itself is invalid.
We spoke with Pat Baker, president and CEO of the Connecticut Health Foundation, and Connecticut Public Radio’s health reporter Nicole Leonard about what this means for the state’ residents.
Here are highlights from the conversation:
On What The Ruling Means Now
Baker: Despite this ruling, the ACA is still in place in Connecticut. We’re in an open enrollment period through Jan. 15. There’s nothing prohibiting anyone from signing up. The coverage that they secure will be safe throughout 2020. And the protections that have been in place due to the Affordable Care Act are still in place.
On What The Ruling Means Moving Forward
Baker: By remanding the issue of severability back to the lower court, that adds time to this process. Many states, including Connecticut are appealing this to the Supreme Court. The question is: Will the Supreme Court take it? And can they take it in this session, or will that be the following year?
On How The Ruling May Affect the 2020 Presidential Campaign
Baker: Whatever happens, it means that health care, one of the top issues for the voting public, is going to be front and center in this election year.
Leonard: If you look at the candidates right now, some are running on platforms that want to introduce new, reformed health care laws. And then there are some that want to build on the existing Affordable Care Act.
So it’ll be interesting to see. If there’s a higher likelihood that the ACA will be repealed, will it make it easier for candidates to say, “Here’s my new plan for the country’s health care system?” Or will it make it more difficult for them to go forward on their individual health plans?
Editor's note: The Connecticut Health Foundation is a supporter of Connecticut Public Radio.