It’s easy to see how the ACA could end up being struck down once this case gets to the highest court. Gone would be the health insurance market reforms like protection for folks with pre-existing conditions, community rating pricing and guarantee issue as well as Medicaid expansion and the health insurance marketplaces.
Prior to the ACA, the standards to protect people with pre-existing conditions were determined at the state level. Most states including AZ had very limited protections. Many insurers maintained lists of up to 400 different conditions that disqualified applicants from insurance or resulted in higher premiums. 35% of people who tried to buy insurance on their own were either turned down by an insurer, charged a higher premium, or had a benefit excluded from coverage because of their preexisting health problem.
Fortunately, Arizona is partially in control of our own destiny if the ACA is struck down. We couldn’t do much about Medicaid rolling back to pre-ACA levels or the loss of subsidies on the Marketplace, but we could have some control over the market reforms like pre-existing condition exclusions, community pricing, and guarantee issue.
Several states have enacted their own laws to be consistent with the ACA market reforms. Several states already have their own laws that incorporate some or all the ACA insurance market protections. Arizona could do the same. Also, CMS released new resources to support states with improving their health insurance markets and making coverage more affordable through section 1332 waivers.
The good news is that we have time before the Texas v. Azar case makes it to the Supreme Court. A good 1st step would be for the Governor to ask our state agencies to generate (or commission) a report outlining the real-life impact in Arizona in the event that the Texas v. Azar suit is successful. The report would put forward options for state-based health insurance market reform laws to require things like prohibiting pre-existing condition exclusions.
Such a report would give the Arizona State Legislature an analysis to evaluate public policy options for state-based market reforms.
I know what you’re thinking, it’s impossible to pass these kind of market reforms in Arizona. Maybe, but many thought Arizona’s expansion of our Medicaid system back in 2013 was impossible. That case study shows that with the right kind of leadership on the 9th floor, anything is possible.