Advocates, Patients and Providers Joined Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey in Action to Defend the Affordable Care Act from Federal Court Challenge!!
Hundreds of Thousands of Massachusetts Residents Could Lose Access to Coverage and Care if Obamacare is Found Unconstitutional!
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey joined advocates, patients, and providers outside of the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse to publicly oppose a lawsuit calling for the complete dismantling of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Oral arguments are starting today at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Texas v. United States, which challenges the constitutionality of the federal individual mandate and, with it, the entire ACA. The case was brought in 2018 after Congress zeroed out the federal individual mandate penalty in the tax bill passed in December 2017. The lawsuit is now also being backed by the White House and the U.S. Department of Justice.
In the initial ruling on this lawsuit, a federal judge found in favor of the plaintiffs and ruled that the ACA’s individual mandate is unconstitutional due to the repeal last December of the requirement that people purchase health insurance or pay a fine (the individual mandate penalty), and, therefore, the entire health law should be thrown out. As predicted, the decision is now being appealed in a higher court.
“If this lawsuit is successful, it will have national implications: raising health care costs, gutting protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions, and ripping health coverage away from millions of Americans, including hundreds of thousands right here in Massachusetts,” said Amy Rosenthal, Executive Director of Health Care For All. “With this lawsuit, the Commonwealth stands to lose billions of dollars a year to support our state-run health care programs, making it harder for Massachusetts to maintain its first-in-the-nation standing for covering our residents.”
In Massachusetts, Attorney General Maura Healey has joined with a group of more than 20 Attorneys General to defend the ACA in this lawsuit.
“The federal government is in court trying to tear away health care for millions of families in Massachusetts and across the country-and our office has been in this fight since the beginning to protect the ACA,” said Attorney General Maura Healey. “This is about standing up to the Trump Administration’s cruel efforts to sabotage our health care system.”
Advocates in other states are holding similar events today to highlight what is at risk with this lawsuit.
“If the lower court ruling is upheld, the results would be catastrophic for people across the country,” said Eva Marie Stahl, associate policy director at Community Catalyst, a national consumer health advocacy organization. “More than 20 million people could lose their health care coverage, and 130 million people with pre-existing health conditions like cancer, asthma and diabetes could be denied coverage or saddled with sky-high insurance premiums. Health insurers would be back in charge, likely forcing older Americans and women to pay more for the same coverage and reinstituting lifetime or annual limits on coverage. We are hopeful that the court will see this case for what it is – a politically motivated distraction – and uphold the ACA.”
In Massachusetts alone, over 220,000 people depend on the subsidies available through the Health Connector because of the ACA. More than 300,000 individuals in the Commonwealth have benefitted from the Medicaid expansion that our state implemented as part of the Affordable Care Act.That’s over 500,000 people whose coverage could be threatened if the courts overturn the law of the land.
“My son has a complex congenital heart defect that required three open heart surgeries and significant medical care early on in life. Despite having health insurance, at the age of 4, he was more than halfway to the lifetime cap we had on our plan. His condition means that more surgery, including a transplant, are in our future.” said Diane Pickles, a resident of Ipswich. “Because of the ACA, families like mine do not have to worry about hitting lifetime caps, being uninsurable because of pre-existing conditions, or having the ability to keep our young adult children insured through a parent’s plan. My son’s life – and the lives of so many others – depend on the ACA being upheld.”
Striking down the entirety of the Affordable Care Act would also strip away many consumer protections enshrined within the law that benefit the people of Massachusetts, including: no-cost preventive health services, like yearly check-ups and mammograms, the ability for young people under age 26 to stay on their parent’s health plan and a ban on lifetime coverage limits.
♥️Supporting organizations include:
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
American Heart Association
Boston Children’s Hospital
Boston Medical Center
Cambridge Health Alliance
Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals
Disability Policy Consortium
Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School
Greater Boston Legal Services
Health Care For All
Health Law Advocates
Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association
Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers
Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC)
Parent/Professional Advocacy League
♥️About Health Care For All (HCFA):
Vision Statement: Everyone in Massachusetts has the equitable, affordable, and comprehensive care they need to be healthy.
Mission Statement: Health Care For All advocates for health justice in Massachusetts by working to promote health equity and ensure coverage and access for all.
The Predator Next Door
By Jennifer O’Connor
An Illinois woman and her child were recently injured after being attacked by an escaped pet caracal, a large exotic cat similar to a lynx. Both were hospitalized, and police killed the caracal. No doubt confused and frightened, this wild animal experienced only the briefest glimmer of freedom before officers were forced to take lethal action.
There is not one legitimate reason why anyone “needs” to keep a tiger in a backyard pen, an alligator in a kiddie pool, a python in an aquarium or a bear in the basement. Like face tattoos, wild animals are procured for the “wow” factor, but the misery that the animals endure and the danger to public safety are both incontrovertible reasons for outlawing exotic animals as pets.
Denied everything that is important to them and forced into close contact with humans, stressed and agitated animals frequently lash out or make a break for it. Countless people have suffered devastating injuries, many losing limbs or their very lives. A Connecticut woman’s face and hands were ripped off by her friend’s chimpanzee. A Florida toddler was strangled to death by the family’s python. A 9-year-old Texas girl died after being attacked by her stepfather’s pet tiger. This list goes on and on.
Tigers and lions are hard-wired to control vast territories and to hunt and kill. Bears are intelligent, curious and energetic and need plenty of room to roam. Primates and reptiles belong in the jungle, not in a cage. Wild animals never get “used to” captivity, and their genetic imperatives don’t somehow disappear just because they aren’t where they’re supposed to be. Living beings denied their freedom know they’re missing something crucial to their being. Just like us, animals want and deserve to live out their lives as nature intended.
Laws exist to keep both humans and animals safe, from requiring us to wear seatbelts to banning dogs from roaming the streets. Yet there is still an entrenched lack of interest at the federal level when it comes to preventing your neighbor from having an 800-pound Bengal tiger who is one high jump away from being on your deck. Even losing populations of native species to pythons dumped in the Everglades has not moved legislators to take meaningful action.
Even proposed restrictions have been gutted. A few years ago, a bill was introduced to ban the import and sale of nine species of dangerous snakes. But industry lobbyists fought it and succeeded in getting it watered down to four. Then–Interior Secretary Ken Salazar unabashedly defended the weaker version of the bill, assuring Americans that the compromise was successful for “not suffocating commerce by over-regulation.”
Keeping wild animals in backyard pens and basement cages is like lighting a fuse and hoping that it won’t go off. How many animals must suffer in grossly inadequate conditions, how many people must lose their lives or limbs, how many animals must die in a hail of gunfire before this practice is outlawed?
Go, Nancy, go!!:
Go, Samantha Bee, go!!