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Thousands Of Mainers Could Be Affected If Affordable Care Act Is Overturned

Oral arguments will be heard Tuesday in a federal lawsuit that seeks to strike down the Affordable Care Act. Eighteen states, led by Texas, are challenging the federal health care law.

The lawsuit, first filed in 2018, contends that the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that most everyone have insurance coverage — otherwise known as the individual mandate — is unconstitutional. A lower court agreed, but that decision is being appealed by 17 states.

Kate Ende of Maine-based Consumers for Affordable Health Care says the outcome of the case could have a significant effect on thousands of Mainers.

“If the court rules that the ACA is more or less unconstitutional, then that means that the roughly 70,000 people who access insurance through the marketplace would be at jeopardy of losing that coverage,” she says.

That includes those now covered under Medicaid expansion, Ende says, because federal subsidies and tax credits would no longer be available.

But other elements of the ACA have recently been protected in Maine, she says. This year, Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill into law that prohibits insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and requires insurers to cover 10 essential health benefits.

Originally published July 8, 2019 at 4:15 p.m. ET.