There are dedicated advocates on both sides of the Affordable Care Act’s constitutionality. However, the Supreme Court may be the entity that holds the most important view. And the recent Supreme Court ruling has far-reaching implications for the federally backed healthcare platform. As always, we’re here to unravel the details regarding this latest case to help you navigate your business’ next steps within the industry. This most recent Supreme Court decision will impact the ACA, along with any providers and companies using the Marketplace to reach valuable customers.
The Latest ACA Challenge Is Not the First
Since its inception, and despite its best intentions, the ACA has certainly had its fair share of opponents. And this latest Supreme Court Case is not the first legal challenge the ACA faced. It’s the third time over the last nine years, in fact. Legal arguments attacked the constitutionality of the ACA back in 2012, to no avail. It came under fire again in 2015 with claims of legality regarding the premium tax credits in states using the federally-facilitated marketplace. The Supreme Court, in that case, ruled in favor of the ACA again, proving its design, while controversial for some, is entirely legal and constitutional.
Even in more recent years, former President Trump’s administration challenged the ACA’s validity. Congressional Republicans led the charge and spent nearly a year looking to find ways to repeal the ACA altogether. And despite Trump’s initiatives to replace the ACA with an alternative healthcare system, the oval office occupancy changed hands again, and President Biden reinvigorated the Obama-created ecosystem with a series of executive orders and additional funding. The ACA is here to stay. And this latest Supreme Court ruling only solidifies its existence.
The Official Ruling on June 17, 2021
On June 17, 2021, the Supreme Court officially rejected the challenges claiming the ACA is unconstitutional. In California v. Texas, the states and individuals behind the suit argued the system’s legality. The basis of the argument is the latest 2017 removal of the tax penalty for not having coverage makes the requirement for coverage unconstitutional and the ACA unlawful. With a ruling of seven to two, the Supreme Court cited the claimants did not have the legal standing to bring the challenge. And ultimately, this ruling brings the case to its conclusion.
With a decision looming in the balance prior to June 17, President Biden’s administration charged ahead with robust plans to stabilize the ACA. In the wake of the pandemic, President Biden sought to expand the premium tax credits, eligibility requirements, and expand enrollment timelines. Now that the latest Supreme Court ruling is in effect, these ACA improvements will likely continue.
The ACA Continues to Gain Stability
Originally, the ACA intended to serve Americans who needed affordable healthcare, and it offered protections for those with pre-existing conditions. The requirements for insurers within the Marketplace set forth guidelines to level the playing field for all participants. Millions were eager to participate. The Kaiser Family Foundation reported growing numbers of Americans insured through the ACA, three years in a row, beginning in 2017. With steady enrollment rates for non-elderly individuals, the ACA was already positioned to thrive.
Add in a global pandemic, and with it, rising numbers of unemployed Americans and the ACA saw surges of enrollment and eligibility applications. President Biden’s plan to restore and reinvigorate the platform would make affordable health insurance even more attainable for millions of Americans. The Medicaid expansion efforts alone saw 14.8 million people qualified. Earlier this month, sources reported that 31 million people found health insurance via the ACA marketplace.
How This Impacts Your Business Plan
President Biden and Congress authorized these ACA enhancements in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) in response to the pandemic. But it’s clear; his intentions are for the ACA to continue to grow and expand its reach. Biden told the nation, “the Affordable Care Act is stronger than ever,” and with the recent Supreme Court ruling, the ACA will likely only get stronger. Those pandemic-driven relief efforts are now being proposed as permanent expansion measures. The ACA is experiencing returning enrollees who are already leveraging the many ACA benefits. And the surge in funding is only further stabilizing the platform. With this renewed interest and recent Supreme Court decision, your business plan can adapt to take advantage of the growth.
If you’re exploring your growth options right now, be sure to amend your business plan to include expansion into the ACA marketplaces. The recent Supreme Court ruling only solidifies its continued support. And while the most troubling times of the pandemic may be over, there will continue to be a growing need for affected Americans who need more robust healthcare services and health insurance coverage.
The Budget Reconciliation legislation planned for later this year seeks to enhance Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) for seniors and people with disabilities. Health insurance premiums and deductibles may also reductions if the ARP subsidy increases are made permanent.
Organizations today will need to embrace new data solutions that help them take advantage of opportunities within the Marketplace. Any systems transitions that your company might need to make now will require a dedicated effort. Let Softheon be your partner to help your business grow with the changing times and the more stabilized ACA ecosystem.
Meet the Author
Josh Schultz is a Senior Policy Analyst at Softheon, where he advises the company on health policy issues affecting businesses and government health agencies. Prior to Softheon, Josh worked for a non-profit agency assisting Medicare beneficiaries, a technology company, and consulting firms.