Analysis: Health coverage for 23 million at stake as Trump fights to repeal Obamacare

Kathy Castor photo
Florida Congresswoman Kathy Castor joins a health-care rally in Tampa, her hometown. She and other Florida Democrats support the Affordable Care Act, which President Trump is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down. Credit: Mitch Perry, 2017

More than 23 million Americans, including close to 2 million Floridians, would lose their health coverage in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic if the Trump administration prevails in court against the Affordable Care Act, a new analysis says.

The Trump Administration is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to repeal the ACA, implemented during the Obama administration in 2010. The law, called “Obamacare” by some, has long been opposed by Republicans.

The Center for American Progress, a nonpartisan research and education institute, projects in a report released Wednesday that affordable health care for 1.75 million Floridians and 23,259,000 Americans is at stake.

That includes 190,000 Floridians and more than 3 million other Americans who enrolled in ACA health plans during the pandemic because they lost their jobs and their employer-sponsored insurance.

“The ACA is playing a vital role in helping Americans weather the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. This analysis shows that the Trump administration’s lawsuit threatens to pull the rug out from millions more Americans just when their health and financial security are at even greater risk,” said Emily Gee, health economist at the center and co-author of the report.

Florida would rank third-highest among state losses, according to the center’s analysis. California would rank first, with 4.2 million people losing ACA health-care plans, and Texas second, losing 2 million.

Before the pandemic, nearly 20 million people had health plans authorized by the ACA that would be struck down if the Supreme Court sides with Trump, according to the research center’s report. Since coronavirus hit the United States, the number has grown by another 3.4 million due to job losses and concurrent loss of employer-sponsored health insurance.

The largest increases in enrollment due to job losses during the pandemic are in California, with 438,000 new beneficiaries; Texas, 225,000; New York, 221,000; Florida, with 190,000; and Illinois, with 131,000. The smallest numbers are in Alaska, Wyoming, Vermont and the District of Columbia, all with fewer than 10,000 COVID-related enrollees.

Roughly 5 million people who would lose their ACA health plans would be unable to secure health coverage elsewhere, the center projects.

The report summarizes that the Trump administration and its allies “are attempting to undermine health care in the midst of one of the worst public health disasters in U.S. history.”

Arguing in support of the Affordable Care Act are the states of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Joining the Trump administration in arguing to repeal the ACA are the states of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.