SCOTUS to hear arguments on ACA, where does Mississippi stand in the fight on healthcare?

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MADISON, Miss (WJTV)- A shakeup on the Supreme Court is putting the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act in the forefront.

As Republicans look to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the high court – they may also succeed in repealing the law that covers more than 20 million people.

If Barrett is confirmed before election day she could be able to hear oral arguments that begin a week after.

The question on the table for SCOTUS, since there is no longer an individual mandate, does the overall law need to be dismantled?

Mississippi is a named plaintiff in the lawsuit to end the Affordable Care Act.

“Back in 2017, where congress went back and basically zeroed out the penalty for not having health insurance coverage,” T. Richard Roberson, General counsel and Vice president for policy and state advocacy Mississippi Hospital Association said.

It’s known as the individual mandate, the 5th circuit ruled the individual mandate unconstitutional.

“So that’s going to be one of the central challenges to the court is , did Congress intend for one provision to be found unconstitutional to bring the entire Affordable Care Act down.”

And the ruling by the Supreme Court will still have an impact in Mississippi despite the state not expanding Medicaid.

“We were in a pretty vulnerable state from a coverage standpoint pre-ACA,” Roberson said.

Mississippi ranked near the bottom of people being covered, now that the healthcare law has been in effect , people in Mississippi in some ways have benefitted.

“One of the important pieces was the coverage for pre-existing conditions and allowing young people to stay on their parents health insurance,” Roberson said.

Opponents say Mississippi cannot bare the cost of expansion, but a plan by the Mississippi Hospital Association would have had hospitals match the federal funds, but it didn’t get much legislative traction.

Ultimately, Roberson says no matter the outcome of the ACA ruling there is still a significant need for people to get affordable health care coverage and it needs to be addressed in Mississippi.

12 News asked where do the US Senate candidates stand on this issue

Incumbent Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith’s campaign said:

Senator Hyde-Smith believes Obamacare should be repealed and replaced with healthcare that puts patients at the center of their own healthcare, not the government.   Obamacare has proven to be problematic with its many mandates and expensive copays that are unaffordable for many Mississippians. 

If Obamacare is struck down by the courts as unconstitutional, Senator Hyde-Smith will work to ensure it is replaced with commonsense, patient-centered reforms that better help Mississippi families afford health insurance without expanding the government’s role in providing healthcare.

 Additionally, Senator Hyde-Smith, like President Trump, wants to ensure continued protection for individuals with pre-existing conditions.  In fact, the Senate Republicans included language to ensure these protections in COVID-19 relief legislation.  Unfortunately, Democrats have blocked consideration of that bill.

Democratic candidate Mike Espy said:

I would like to see the Affordable Care Act upheld. 

If my opponent, Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, succeeds in repealing the ACA, she will rip coverage away from 600,000 Mississippians with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes and asthma, and return us to the awful days where anyone with a pre-existing condition was denied coverage or charged more for care.

If the ACA is struck down, Mississippi will lose $700 million in federal funds a year and the demand for care that our struggling hospitals would be forced to cover would grow to $1.2 billion annually.

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