CMS Has A Plan If Federal Judge Strikes Down ACA

The CMS has a plan to protect pre-existing conditions and Americans’ access to care even if a federal judge overturns the Affordable Care Act, CMS Adminstrator Seema Verma said Tuesday.

A slew of Republican state attorneys general have challenged the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reform law, and that lawsuit may be decided any day.

But the CMS won’t be caught flat-footed.

“We want to make sure that people with pre-existing conditions have protections and we want to make sure people have access to affordable coverage,” Verma told reporters at a roundtable Tuesday.

Verma wouldn’t offer specifics on the plans.

Conservatives argue that even if U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor rules against the ACA, the impact will be minimal.

“Washington’s chattering class will proclaim that the apocalypse is fast upon us, with millions of Americans with chronic illnesses at risk of losing their insurance coverage,” Doug Badger, a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said in an analysis Tuesday. “But the ruling would do nothing of the sort, even if the Supreme Court were to uphold it. In the near term, it most likely will have no effect at all.”

Badger argues that at most, the judge’s decision would strike down the federal government’s regulations. But states would still regulate insurance coverage, which would dampen that ruling’s effect.

The conservative state attorneys general argue the ACA’s coverage protections can’t be adequately enforced without an individual mandate compelling healthy people into the individual market’s risk pool. Their lawsuit harnesses language from the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2012 ruling upholding the ACA as a tax law. With the tax penalty zeroed out as part of last year’s tax reform, they say the entire law should be vacated.


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