Viewpoint: Why removing access to healthcare is a moral issue

After a federal judge in Texas ruled the ACA is unconstitutional in December, Texas physician Hussain Lalani, MD, wrote that taking away patients' access to healthcare is morally flawed.

About 1.1 million Texans enrolled in health coverage through the Texas exchange in 2018, and 90 percent received federal subsidies to purchase health insurance, according to a study cited by Dr. Lalani.

"The recent court decision not only threatens the lives of these Texans, but it also would strip health insurance from more than 17 million people across the country according to a recent analysis by the Urban Institute," Dr. Lalani wrote.  

The decision disproportionately affects vulnerable members of society, including Americans who make less than 138 percent of the poverty line in the 36 states that have expanded Medicaid, college students on their parent's health insurance plan until age 26 and people with preexisting conditions, Dr. Lalani said.

Since the ACA includes funding to fight the opioid crisis, the judge's decision also negatively affects public health.

"It's hard to stay healthy in this country without access to health insurance unless you are very wealthy," Dr. Lalani said. "I understand that the specifics of healthcare policy are complex and there are differences in opinion about the individual mandate. But let's not forget that we are talking about real lives."

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