ACA lawsuit could jeopardize 52 million Americans' access to health care

The U.S. Department of Justice on June 7 filed a brief in a district court lawsuit arguing that the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) protections for people with preexisting conditions should be invalidated at the end of 2018.

The U.S. Department of Justice on June 7 filed a brief in a district court lawsuit arguing that the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) protections for people with preexisting conditions should be invalidated at the end of 2018. According to a 2016 analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation, approximately 52 million Americans under the age of 65 years could find their access to health insurance at risk because of a wide range of preexisting conditions. Health insurers have for years been raising premiums, complaining about uncertainty and withdrawing from the business of selling individual insurance plans, and more changes could further destabilize the market. "It would be essentially a return to what the individual market looked like before the ACA, where insurers would require applicants to fill out long questionnaires about their medical histories, and make decisions based on people's health and how much to charge," said Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation. "Now we're in the situation where very sick people have gotten insurance, and so changing the rules means taking coverage away from people who genuinely need it." The court filing is a request to the judge, and will set off a long legal fight.