Updated December 4, 2020, 3:00 PM EST.
In 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), also referred to as ObamaCare, was passed into law. In the last 10 years, there have been multiple unsuccessful attempts to repeal the law, but the ACA has remained, and 20 million people have gained insurance as a result.
On November 10, 2020, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in California v. Texas, a legal challenge that seeks to strike down the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Read more on California v. Texas and Texas v. the United States.
The removal of the Affordable Care Act will have serious implications as it touches many areas of the cancer community and our healthcare systems. Financial toxicity is a heavy burden for patients with cancer. With healthcare costs, deductibles, copays, and the cost of drugs, many patients are forced to be constantly thinking about future debt from treatment or leaving behind debt that will fall to their loved ones. The ACA can help ease this burden for the cancer community, offering patients more protection and coverage.
The Affordable Care Act created many new ways for people to gain access to healthcare coverage by expanding and allowing a larger population to qualify for Medicaid, and implementing state health insurance marketplaces where one can buy individual health insurance plans from private insurance companies.
A common misconception of the Affordable Care Act is that the law will only benefit people who need access to Medicaid or who need to buy insurance. The ACA also provides many consumer protections, such as protection against the denial of health coverage, being charged more because of a pre-existing condition, your age, or your gender, and paying high out-of-pocket costs because of annual or lifetime limits that had been eliminated by the ACA.
If the ACA were to be repealed, almost everyone would be impacted by the decision. The Supreme Court’s decision will likely be announced to the public sometime between March and June of 2021.
Watch Joanna Fawzy Morales, Esq. and Monica Fawzy Bryant, Esq. of Triage Cancer discuss the future of the Affordable Care Act.
While the Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land for now, it is important for all people, including oncology nurse and patient navigators, cancer patients, survivors, and their loved ones, to understand the potential implications and what this case could mean for them and the future of cancer care. If the Supreme Court finds that the entire ACA is unconstitutional, it could have serious implications for access to care, removing many essential patient protections that patients with cancer and cancer survivors depend on.
Download the Affordable Care Act and the Supreme Court infographic today to educate patients with cancer on the potential implications of the removal of the Affordable Care Act.