News Release

Latest Ruling Deals a Blow to the ACA but the Law Remains

December 18, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC—On July 9th of this year, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals held oral arguments in a lawsuit, Texas v. United States, aimed at dismantling the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by challenging the individual mandate provision of the ACA. Today, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the ACA’s individual mandate unconstitutional and remanded the case back to a federal court in Texas to determine which parts of the law should be eliminated.

The Affordable Care Act has resulted in historic gains, facilitating coverage for over 20 million Americans, including at least 4 million Latino adults and 600,000 Latino children. The decision to strike down the individual mandate and send the case back to a federal judge in Texas who previously ruled against the ACA would have far reaching implications for Latinos leading the number of uninsured to balloon by an estimated 5.4 million. This includes the over three million Latinos who gained coverage under their state’s Medicaid expansion program.

“Today’s ruling is yet another attack on the nation’s health care system by those more interested in tearing down the ACA than in improving it so that more Americans and their families, including Latinos, have access to quality, affordable health coverage and care. While today’s ruling is a setback, it is important for the American people to know that the ACA remains the law of the land and this fight is not over,” said Eric Rodriguez, Senior Vice President of Policy and Advocacy, UnidosUS.

Despite the ACA’s progress in closing gaps among the uninsured, various threats remain, including persistent attacks on the law, gutting of federal funds for in-person enrollment assistance, and fear stemming from civil immigration enforcement. Recently released data from the US Census Bureau show Latinos remain far more likely to be uninsured than their White, Black, or Asian neighbors with nearly 18% of Latinos going uninsured last year compared to 5.4% of non-Hispanic Whites. The Latino children’s uninsured rate stands at 8.7% uninsured compared to 4.2% for non-Hispanic White children.

Latinos have been strong supporters of the Affordable Care Act, in fact in a 2018 Latino Decisions Election Eve poll, 71% of Latino voters agreed that the ACA should be strengthened. In a more recent UnidosUS poll, 46% of Latino voters cited health care as one of the top issues they would like presidential candidates to focus on the most.

“Despite this threat from the court, we are not powerless. Champions in Congress are hard at work proposing legislation to improve the law. This recent open enrollment period was an important opportunity for the community to enroll. And with the 2020 election on the horizon, we can exercise our right to vote for those who would protect and strengthen our care rather than take it away,” continued Rodriguez.

UnidosUS, previously known as NCLR (National Council of La Raza), is the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. Through its unique combination of expert research, advocacy, programs, and an Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico, UnidosUS simultaneously challenges the social, economic, and political barriers that affect Latinos at the national and local levels. For more than 50 years, UnidosUS has united communities and different groups seeking common ground through collaboration, and that share a desire to make our country stronger. For more information on UnidosUS, visit www.unidosus.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.