This week, like many of you, I am reflecting on the life and legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was a trailblazer for women’s equality and an icon for women of all ages.
After fighting gender discrimination early in her career, she paved the way for women through her support of numerous gender equality laws. That includes recognition of pregnancy discrimination; providing the right for women to apply for credit cards, bank accounts and mortgages without a male co-signer; and of course equal pay for women.
Beyond the impact she’s had on women’s rights, she also had a direct impact on our business. Following the November 3rd election, the Supreme Court will once again hear a challenge to the Affordable Care Act. The law was challenged and upheld in 2012, with Ginsburg voting in its favor. Her absence from the bench means the ACA’s future is in jeopardy.
If the ACA is overturned, nearly 11 million Americans across the country will lose their Marketplace plan they depend on, including more than 1 million of our own members in Florida. If the law falls, there will be catastrophic impacts across the health care system.
For example, 54 million people will lose protections for pre-existing conditions. Approximately 2.3 million young people will lose the ability to stay on their parents’ policy until the age of 26. In addition, unlimited benefit maximums and subsidies for individuals who can’t afford their premiums would also be eliminated. Finally, 34 states and the District of Columbia that expanded Medicaid coverage for lower-income Americans will be forced to backtrack, eliminating coverage for an additional 12 million people.
At a time when health care coverage has never been more important, dismantling of the ACA will not only put the health of millions of Americans at risk, it will drive up health care costs for everyone. We need to be working together with all stakeholders – legislators, regulators, providers, and consumers – to determine how we can ENHANCE the ACA to provide access to quality, affordable health care for all Floridians rather than starting over from scratch.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg taught us that we should stand firmly behind our beliefs, be fearless in our convictions and that even if we have differing opinions, we can still have compassion for one another. Right now in America, the stakes have never been higher and neither has the tension. But despite the uncertainty we feel, we must challenge ourselves in these trying times to try to live like RBG did with compassion for each other. Wear your mask, vote and protect the rights granted in the ACA.
++ NOTE: All ACA statistics pulled from here, KFF’s “Potential Impact of California v. Texas Decision on Key Provisions of the Affordable Care Act”, dated September 22, 2020. https://www.kff.org/health-reform/issue-brief/potential-impact-of-california-v-texas-decision-on-key-provisions-of-the-affordable-care-act/