Doug Jones warns Alabama may be most affected if pre-existing conditions are eliminated from ACA

ACA health care
[Photo Credit: (AP Photo | Jacquelyn Martin]

U.S. Senator Doug Jones is stepping up to defend pre-existing conditions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which the Trump Administration argues are unconstitutional.

In February, 20 attorneys general, including Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health And Human Services (HHS) arguing changes made during the 2017 tax bill made the ACA unconstitutional.

“The attorneys general argue that a Supreme Court decision in 2012 saved the ACA from being declared an unconstitutional overreach of congressional power by declaring the penalty a tax and pointing out that Congress has the power to levy taxes,” the Washington Post reported. “Without the tax penalty, they argue, ‘the Court should hold that the ACA is unlawful and enjoin its operation.'”

In a court filing in June, the Trump administration specifically “urged the Texas federal court to strike down two provisions from the ACA: one that requires insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions, and the other that prevents insurers from charging individuals a higher premium because of their pre-existing condition,” according ABC News.

Jones pushes back

Now, Jones is warning that Alabama may be one of the most affected states if those protections are eliminated.

“I have just spent the last couple of weeks in a couple of roundtables listening to people affected: 900,000 people in Alabama affected by pre-existing conditions; and that’s just the people affected not their families,” Jones said.

“One in three Alabamians under age 65 lives with a pre-existing condition that would’ve left them with no health insurance or higher-cost insurance before the ACA was passed. That ranks Alabama among the states with the highest rates of residents with pre-existing conditions in the country and makes our state one of those hurt most if protection for pre-existing conditions is rolled back or eliminated,” Jones wrote in an Op-Ed to “And that’s not just a possibility – these protections are under serious threat because the Trump Administration is refusing to defend key provisions of the ACA in court.”