Nancy LeaMond, AARP executive vice president and chief advocacy & engagement officer, commented on Friday's court ruling, in which a Texas judge ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, saying AARP is deeply disappointed in the verdict. But the association will continue fighting for older Americans to have access to affordable health insurance.
"This decision is a profound blow to millions of Americans who have benefited from the ACA, including its protections against charging older Americans an age tax and for people with preexisting health conditions," LeaMond said. "The ACA has impacted the lives of every American, including older adults who can finally secure affordable access to health care, Medicare beneficiaries who can more reasonably afford their prescription medications, and people under age 26 who can remain on their parent’s insurance."
If upheld, this decision will throw both the U.S. economy and the health care system into turmoil because millions of people will be cut off from the health-care coverage and essential health benefits upon which they have depended since the ACA became law, she said.
Prior to the ACA, health insurance was either unavailable or simply not affordable for many 50- to 64-year-old Americans. The ACA has been a lifeline for millions of Americans, particularly older adults who rely heavily on the law for their health and financial stability and to secure prescription drugs upon which their health depends, she said.
“This ruling opens the door to insurance companies to once again charge older Americans an age tax and deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes," LeaMond said. "Further, even if people could secure coverage, they could face premiums that are 10 times or more than what others pay for the same coverage. This will be devastating to older Americans, including the estimated 25 million older adults who have a preexisting condition."
LeaMond said AARP will continue fighting in both Congress and the courts on behalf of older Americans and their ability to obtain high-quality, affordable health insurance coverage.
"This decision must be reversed in order to prevent the catastrophic impact on millions of lives of finding the ACA unconstitutional," she said.