should be careful what they wish for. If the Supreme Court ultimately
strikes down the Affordable Care Act, it will speed the day when America
finally moves to Medicare for All.”byJulia Conley, staff writer 86 Comments
of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) hold signs during an event on healthcare
September 13, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Sen. Sanders held
an event to introduce the Medicare for All Act of 2017. (Photo: Alex
A federal judge’s ruling that
the Affordable Care Act (ACA) violates the U.S. Constitution alarmed
healthcare advocates Friday, but left most unconcerned that the judge
would succeed in taking away health coverage from 20 million Americans—and
only served to bolster the argument for a Medicare for All system that
would provide every American with the kind of free healthcare that’s
available in other developed countries.
Healthcare advocates quickly addressed the concern that the attack on the ACA could harm 133 million Americans who rely on the law’s rule banning insurance companies from refusing coverage based on pre-existing conditions, and the 20 million Americans who gained insurance because of the law. The ruling will likely be repealed, many wrote on social media, and Americans who need coverage through their states can still sign up through Saturday.
But the ongoing court battles over the law are likely to proceed
eventually to the Supreme Court, where President Donald Trump’s
appointees, Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, could rule
against the law.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), whose Medicare for All bill now has 15 co-sponsors in the Senate, demanded that O’Connor’s ruling be overturned to protect the millions of people who rely on the ACA, and was among those who called for the country to “move forward” from battles over healthcare access—instead prioritizing the availability of government-sponsored healthcare for every American.
New York magazine journalist David Freedlander portrayed the
attack on the ACA as a sign that Republican courts would also likely
immediately try to dismantle the bolder, more progressive Medicare for
All law should it be passed.
“In light of yesterday’s ACA ruling, any 2020 candidate pushing
Medicare for All needs to explain how they will get it past a Court
willing to toss out a law passed ten years ago by large congressional
majorities,” Freedlander wrote Saturday.
Washington Post columnist Dave Weigel quickly responded, however, that the comparatively straightforward Medicare for All plan, in which the broadly popular Medicare program would be expanded, would involve far fewer provisions for Republicans to quibble over.
The Republicans’ repeated attacks on the laws—including their repeal attempt which resulted in a nationwide outcry, with the disability rights group ADAPT leading hundreds of Americans in protests on Capitol Hill—may bring Democrats closer to an opportunity to push through a Medicare for All bill.
At Vox.com, Ezra Klein also called the ruling a “boon” to Medicare for All, whose support among Americans has skyrocketed in the last several years, with 70 percent of those surveyed in a recent Reuters poll reporting that they approved of the proposal.
“Nearly a decade of constant and cynical assault on what was supposed
to be a compromise bill has pushed the Democratic Party left on health
care policy, and persuaded Democrats everywhere that trying to
compromise or placate Republicans is foolish,” wrote Klein. “The legacy
of the GOP’s Obamacare repeal strategy won’t be the Affordable Care
Act’s destruction, but Medicare-for-all’s construction.
“This is doubly true if Republicans somehow succeed in this case. Imagine a world where Judge O’Connor’s ruling is upheld. In that world, a Republican judge cuts tens of millions of people off health insurance mere weeks after Republicans lost a midterm election for merely trying to cut those people off health insurance,” he continued. “The aftermath of that would be a political massacre for the GOP, and a straightforward mandate for Democrats to rebuild the health system along the lines they prefer.”