Local doctors fear consequences if Affordable Care Act is overturned

DELMARVA – The fate of the Affordable Care Act hangs in the balance as the Supreme Court of the United States prepares to hear arguments over whether or not to strike it down. “Gutting this law right now could have a devastating impact for many Delawareans across the first state,” said Executive Director of the ACLU of Delaware Mike Brickner.

This will be the third time the Supreme Court has heard arguments of this kind. Local doctors fear that if it is overturned, it could have detrimental impacts on those who rely on the ACA. “These are people who can’t afford doctor visits, specialty care, surgeries, let alone medications that are very expensive – that without any type of healthcare these are people who would not survive,” said Pearl Clinic Owner Dr. Sherin Howett.

Challengers say the mandate is unconstitutional without any tax to enforce it. President Donald Trump adds that premiums are too expensive. But The ACLU of Delaware says striking down the ACA could be especially dangerous as the United States is in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic. “As we’re dealing with the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic, even more patients rely on the Affordable Care Act because maybe they were laid off,” said Brickner.

Brickner says marginalized communities like those living with disabilities and under low income could be even more at risk. “Here in Delaware if we look at black and brown communities, particularly in the Latino community we’ve seen very high rates of COVID-19,” said Brickner.

Dr.  Howett says she and other local healthcare providers have been keeping an eye on this decision. She says they have been brainstorming on ways they could help patients pay for healthcare if the Supreme Court rules against the ACA. Dr. Howett adds that she hopes an alternative to the ACA is provided if it’s overturned. “It’s an imperfect system. I think everybody’s really in agreement about that. However if you’re going to talk about getting rid of the ACA, you need something instead to substitute,” said Dr. Howett.

The Supreme Court justices will have three separate questions to weigh. They’ll be looking at if the individual mandate is sustainable into the future, how much else of the ACA would have to be struck down if the individual mandate is overturned, and which two conservative justices might vote to keep the ACA around. At least two justices would have to rule in the ACA’s favor for it to not be overturned. A decision is expected by the end of June.

Categories: Coronavirus, Delaware, Health, Local News, Maryland, Virginia