A pending lawsuit launched by Republicans is threatening to overturn the Affordable Care Act––and the effects could impact 15 million people, according to a recent report from the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD).
Specifically, the lawsuit could strip away protections for pre-existing conditions from the healthcare law, as the Trump Justice Department announced it would not defend the ACA. The Department of Justice is typically tasked with defending laws.
More than 15.6 million in the individual market may lose federal protections against coverage denials or premium increases as a result of their pre-existing conditions, gender or age, according to the report.
Another recent analysis from Avalere Health found that more than 100 million people could be impacted by healthcare laws related to pre-existing conditions.
Republicans have attempted to overturn the ACA in Congress several times over the last two years. The lawsuit, which was launched by 20 Republican state attorneys general and governors, is unlikely to conclude before the midterm elections in November.
“President Trump claims all Republicans support people with pre-existing conditions, but just last year 217 Republican House Members voted to eliminate protections for these individuals,” Cummings said in a statement. “The President’s words––and the words of Republicans in Congress––do not match their actions.”
More than 10 million people who purchase insurance through the individual market have pre-exiting conditions, and 4.8 million have conditions severe enough “that insurers may deny them coverage altogether,” the report estimated.
Individuals with employer-sponsored coverage could also be at risk, as current law prohibits employer-based plans from excluding coverage for pre-existing conditions. Because the Trump administration is not defending that specific provision, employer plans could charge higher prices or exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions to new employees for up to one year if they did not maintain continuous coverage prior to enrolling in the employer’s plan.
More than 151 million people could be at risk of losing this federal protection, the report concluded.