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AGS expresses concern for future stability of high-quality, affordable healthcare

Last week's ruling in district court has questioned the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, which has stakeholder groups concerned.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

As it has since 2016, the American Geriatrics Society again expressed concern for the future stability of high-quality, person-centered and affordable healthcare, should bipartisan collaboration falter following a federal court ruling last Friday, which jeopardizes certain gains under the Affordable Care Act.

The AGS is not alone. A host of legislators, policy experts, healthcare stakeholders, and older adults, families and caregivers across the country have also called for swift action to clarify and appeal the decision, which questioned the constitutionality of the ACA after its individual mandate for health insurance was repealed in 2017.

IMPACT

Though last week's district court ruling does not immediately strike down the systems put in place by the ACA, the AGS maintained that it it does risk throwing healthcare into greater chaos without swift, bipartisan action on effective solutions.

"First and foremost, we want to assure our members and the older adults and caregivers they work with that the ACA still remains the law of the land," said AGS CEO Nancy E. Lundebjerg. "The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has made this clear, and we at the AGS will do all we can to support high-quality, person-centered, and affordable care solutions moving forward,"

Those who purchased a plan on the government's health exchange during open enrollment which ended December 15, will still see their plans go into effect in 2019, and they'll remain in effect pending further legal action.

The ACA expanded access to health insurance for about 20 million Americans through the expansion of Medicaid and the introduction of an insurance marketplace. The AGS said that certain elements of the law serve older adults specifically -- from its closing of the Medicare prescription "donut hole" to its elimination of cost-sharing deductibles or copayments for preventive health services.

THE TREND

Open enrollment for ACA plans, which began on November 1, was lagging behind 2017 numbers until the seventh week, Dec, 9-15 when there was a surge of sign-ups, overtaking figures from last year.

During that week, 4.3 million people selected plans, compared to 4.1 million people during that window last year.

Twitter: @JELagasse

Email the writer: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com

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