Letter to the editor: Conservative court could kill ACA

U.S. Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett was nominated Saturday to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected to hear oral arguments in a case against the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, after the presidential election in November.

To the editor:

I cannot describe the pain that I feel because of the real possibility that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) law will be struck down.

My husband Floyd lived with COPD before it turned into cancer for the four years before his death in 2008. After I was laid off from teaching in Alden, BlueCross/Blue Shield refused to pay for any of the Mayo Clinic medical bills even though we were paying the COBRA full premium.

This is just one instance that we had to fight the insurance company even though it was covered in our policy.

Floyd died died months before Obama and Biden were elected. I devoted all of my extra hours to get them elected so that they could enact guaranteed health care. I continued volunteering to educate others of the need for the law both before and after the ACA was enacted.

My 31-year-old grandson has juvenile diabetes. His insulin was not paid by insurance before the ACA was passed. If ACA is struck down, he will not be able to afford it since the cost has skyrocketed.

My 12-year-old granddaughter has asthma, which is considered a preexisting condition. One of my sons has a preexisting condition. I do not have to worry about myself until the Republicans get rid of Medicare.

My heart is so heavy thinking about all those years volunteering to help others obtain Obamacare. I know that many Republicans do not care because I ran across some of them when knocking on doors.

Julie Stewart Ziesman


  1. If the ACA is Constitutional, then there is no worries about it being struck down. Activist judges rule by their beliefs whereas Constitutional originalists rule by whether the law is Constitutional. If the case in question goes the administration’s way, it does not mean the ACA is struck down and it goes away. It only is whether the penalty for not having insurance is a tax or not. The penalty is no longer being enforced, so there will be no effect to the ACA no matter how it is ruled. Democrats are lying when they claim the ACA will go away with this upcoming decision. In fact, preexisting conditions will continue to be covered, and “Obamacare” policies will still be in force, and people will continue to sign up for new policies as before. I personally find the lies by Democrats in their attempts to win votes by scaring people kind of creepy.

  2. I find “compassionate” conservatives creepy, if not outright ghoulish. You know what this is about. You know that the administration has repeatedly attempted to strike down the ACA every way it could. You know that their claims of protecting pre-existing condition coverage are lies. At least own it. Don’t hide behind word games and semantics. They want the law struck down because it is an Obama-era success, it cuts into the profits of corporate campaign contributors, and worst of all, with them, cruelty is the point, especially when anyone gets between them and a dollar. We’ve lost over 205,000 people, tragically proving that point.

    • You called me a liar. From CNBC 9/24/2020: “Trump to sign executive orders protecting preexisting conditions and seeking a way to prevent surprise medical bills.” CNBC is not friendly to the president, yet they were honest enough to post the story. You owe me an apology but since you are a Democrat, I know you will never give me one.

      • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act already fully guarantees coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions and has since the law went into effect in March of 2010. The executive order was meaningless stagecraft. I am sorry that you were deceived. You seem to be very passionate about this issue. Have you read the contents of the bill? If not, you should take the time to do so. The law does much to improve and protect the lives of the people in our country, far beyond what the news coverage and campaign rhetoric has told you.

        • I provided you with proof that you mistakenly called me a liar, yet you refuse to apologize. You still claim I’m being deceived despite my providing a liberal news source to bolster my assertion. Are you in touch with reality?

  3. Wow! Chris Sands accuses Democrats of “scaring people” and calls it “kind of creepy.” Since the Republicans have tried to get rid of the Affordable Care Act since its 2010 inception and Trump has repeatedly stated his intentions of eliminating it, most reasonable people would conclude that is actually the Republicans’ intention. This is without providing a promised replacement.

    • Julia, I stated that the case in question that is in the court today will not cause the ACA to go away. Instead of making another baseless accusation, perhaps you could just share how this case will make it go away? The case is over the penalty for not having insurance. The federal government no longer even enforces the penalty, so it will not matter what the case decides about it. Please share how this will impact the ACA. Pre-existing conditions have already been taken care of by executive order. That means it will take another president to issue his own executive order to overturn it. Does Joe Biden plan on alloying insurance companies to disallow policies once again based on that?

      • Tell your insurance carriers that you demand to uphold Your Freedom by no longer paying premiums to see how fast your coverage goes away. Then tell them you wish to have the Freedom of being in a risk pool of one, because it’s unfair for any of Your Hard Earned Money to go towards someone else’s care. Finally, let us know how insurance works in your world, because it doesn’t work that way in ours.

        • Wm, what in the world are you writing about? We are discussing how the upcoming court case will have no impact on the ACA. Julia disagrees with me (which is perfectly fine with me), but whatever you have started off on really is not germane to anything.

          • I’ll type slowly so you’ll understand. The key to making the ACA work is to have everyone participate. Spreading the risk pool across all citizens lowers the premiums to an affordable level. It cannot be a viable plan if everyone gets coverage, but participation on the input side is voluntary.

            Republicans know this. By removing the enforcement side, the system becomes unbalanced and unworkable. Then they can just shrug, let the ACA die without taking the blame from voters for taking away coverage, and blame Democrats at the same time. This is what they consider a “win.”

          • He suffers from TDS. He responds to everything with subjective, angry, Trump-hating rants, using typical lefty talking points, and finishes with a condescending comment.

  4. Since it was an executive order to take care of pre-existing conditions, insurance companies do not have to obey it because it will come out of their bottom line and not be compensated by law. The Congress has to approve expenditures. The executive branch does not have that authority. The Supreme Court is already scheduled to hear oral arguments just after the election in a case brought by a coalition of Republican state attorneys general and the Trump administration, who argue the law’s individual mandate is unconstitutional, and the entire law must fall.

    • Julia, insurance companies do have to follow that executive order. You are incorrect about that. You are also incorrect about the impact of the upcoming court case that you refer to will have on the ACA. The case is over the penalty for not having insurance. Because the individual mandate is no longer being enforced (no penalty for not having insurance, the penalty being the enforcement measure), it will not matter what the decision decides about it. If the ACA exists today without enforcing the individual mandate, why would it go away if that unenforced mandate goes away tomorrow?

      • I do not know your source. But I watch ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC besides looking it up on Google. If you have employer health insurance, you will probably be okay.

        • Julia, you need to research how presidential executive orders work. There are a myriad of very good academic sources on the internet, but news shows on TV are not among them. Journalists can be wonderful people personally, but they really are not the people you need to rely on in explaining how executive orders work. Let’s be kind and just say most journalists did not spend their college years hanging out with the smart kids and studying all the time.

      • If this “doesn’t matter,” why are Republicans doing it? Lot of time on their hands these days? Nothing much on the agenda? You express such glee to see people denied health insurance.

  5. I Googled CNBC, Sept. 25, 2020: “The Supreme Court may soon erase the Affordable Care Act from existence — an outcome that could have far-reaching consequences for American health care. The high court is expected to hear oral arguments in a case seeking to overturn the law, also known as Obamacare, in November after the presidential election . . . . Millions of Americans could lose their health insurance as a result. They would likely face cost and access barriers to regain coverage, especially those with pre-existing conditions, according to experts. Expenses may rise for those who do retain their insurance, as they may lose coverage for some ACA-required services, experts said . . . . Plaintiffs in the upcoming Supreme Court case (who are primarily Republican state officials) argue the individual mandate is unconstitutional without the tax. They also argue the entire law is invalid without the mandate.” The Trump administration supports these positions.

  6. Chris, you are correct that an executive order can be enforced if it is properly written. “…Trump has signed an executive order that he says locks in coverage regardless of anyone’s health history. ‘Any health care reform legislation that comes to my desk from Congress must protect the preexisting conditions or I won’t sign it,’ Trump said at a Sept. 24 signing event. With the executive order, Trump said, ‘This is affirmed, signed and done, so we can put that to rest.’ Health law and health policy experts say Trump has put nothing to rest. Here’s why. The core text of the order is brief: ‘It has been and will continue to be the policy of the United States to give Americans seeking healthcare more choice, lower costs, and better care and to ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions can obtain the insurance of their choice at affordable rates.’ Joe Antos with the American Enterprise Institute, a market-oriented think tank, said the order ‘has no technical content.’ ‘All it really is, is a statement that he wants one or more of his departments to come up with a plan. And he doesn’t give any guidance or the vaguest outline of what that plan should be.’ It takes more than a bill title to actually deliver guaranteed coverage. So far, Republican proposals have not matched what the Affordable Care Act already provides. And University of Pennsylvania law professor Allison Hoffman said Trump’s executive order doesn’t change that. ‘The language itself guarantees nothing near the protections in the Affordable Care Act, and such sweeping protections are only possible by congressional action, not regulation,’ Hoffman said.” KHN Healthcheck Sept 28, 2020

    • Severability. Did our new Justice just telegraph how she possibly be looking at the case, Julie? As I pointed out, how does ruling a penalty that no longer is being enforced is not Constitutional render the whole act un-Constitutional? Sever the penalty, (as she telegraphed), and keep the rest of it seems to be where the smart money is. As to EO’s not being as detailed as legislation, so what? That does not render them unenforceable. Trump is already claiming that by separating the penalty for not having insurance out but leaving the rest alone will, even though nothing changes (everyone keeps their “Obamacare” policies), he will have “killed” Obamacare. Now that claim ought to make you a little upset. Nothing changes, but Trump claims Obamacare is now Trumpcare. Oh my!

  7. Got me there. Must be everything I said was wrong then. (Gotta admit, you thought it was clever, too, didn’t you? 😉


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