FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) – (11/10/2020) – The Supreme Court hearing oral arguments in a case on Tuesday that will determine the future of the Affordable Care Act.
The ruling could potentially put the health insurance of more than 20 million Americans at risk as the pandemic wears on. Until a ruling is official, tens of thousands of people in Mid-Michigan hang in the balance, dependent on the Affordable Care Act for insurance.
One Mid-Michigan healthcare professional explained his concerns of the possibility of a full repeal.
“This is the worst time that you can be talking about eliminating the ACA,” Clarence Pierce said.
Pierce is the CEO at Hamilton Community Health Network. He says the ACA (Affordable Care Act). also known as Obamacare. helps insure thousands of people in Genesee County.
He says amid a global pandemic, there’s only been a need for more.
“We’re still signing up people because with the economy being in bad shape like it is, more people being laid off. Like you pointed out, the pandemic is here upon us. We still have some big challenges in front of us,” Pierce said.
We asked if The Supreme Court does eliminate the Affordable Care Act, where do they go?
“They wouldn’t have any choice but the emergency room because there’s no replacement, you know certainly nothing that has been put forth, and they would be regulated to the emergency room, which would be a disaster,” Pierce said.
Pierce says that would be extremely detrimental to people in Genesee County and Flint in particular, and he knows because he’s seen it.
“Before we had the ACA, I can recall when the emergency rooms were full and you couldn’t get to the true emergencies for the people who were there for basic primary care-type issues: the common cold or something minor. To have to go back to those days would just be devastating,” Pierce said.
Pierce says to avoid flooding emergency rooms, people shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to access healthcare, especially not here.
“It’s so important for families and particularly in our case where we’ve had the water crisis and some of the challenges we’ve had here in the community even more necessitates us to be able to access good quality healthcare,” Pierce said.
The question at stake for the nine Supreme Court justices is whether the ACA’s individual mandate, which requires Americans to have health insurance, is unconstitutional, and whether the law can stand without it.
On Tuesday, two key conservative justices signaled it can: Chief Justice John Roberts & Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
If the two conservative justices join the three liberal members of the court, then a majority of the justices could rule in favor of keeping the bulk of Obamacare in place.
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