Lawsuit more dangerous than ever for Floridians during pandemic and economic crisis
MIAMI, Fla. – In a letter sent today to state Attorney General Ashley Moody, more than 200 individuals and organizations urged Florida’s withdrawal from California v. Texas, a lawsuit before the Supreme Court that could strike down the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA). Given that one possible outcome would be a ruling limited to Florida and the 17 other states that are still plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the need for withdrawal is all the more urgent.
Oral arguments before the Supreme Court are scheduled for November 10, 2020.
If the lawsuit succeeds, an additional 1.5 million Floridians would become uninsured, according to a new analysis from the nonpartisan Urban Institute. This figure does not include the 1.5 million Sunshine State residents who could gain coverage if Florida adopted Medicaid expansion — an opportunity that would be eliminated by the lawsuit.
“We are pleading with the Attorney General to save millions of Floridians from the catastrophic loss of health insurance in the middle of a pandemic,” said Miriam Harmatz, executive director of Florida Health Justice Project, one of the authors of the letter. “Attorney General Moody has done a tremendous amount of work on behalf of Florida seniors and persons with disabilities, and we are urging that she save Floridians from the incomprehensible amount of suffering that would result from repealing the ACA.”
“Since its major provisions went into effect in 2014, the ACA has been key in reducing health care disparities nationwide and ensuring that Floridians have access to life-saving medications and crucial health services,” said Sadaf Knight, CEO of Florida Policy Institute. “Now would be the worst time to take that away from people. We strongly urge Attorney General Moody to withdraw Florida from this lawsuit.”
“Florida consistently leads all other states using the federal marketplace in enrollment,” said Scott Darius, executive director of Florida Voices for Health. “Arguing for the repeal of the ACA goes against what Floridians have demonstrated is important to us.”
The letter, which noted that Moody inherited the lawsuit from her predecessor Pam Bondi, points out that repeal of the ACA in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis would also be devastating for Florida’s aging population. The ACA prohibits discrimination based on pre-existing conditions and age — if the law were to be repealed, an estimated 8.4 million Floridians with pre-existing conditions could face higher premiums, benefit exclusions, or even outright denial of coverage.
The ACA has been a lifeline during the pandemic, providing coverage options for many of the thousands of Floridians who have lost their jobs or experienced sharp reductions in income in the recession.