Gov.’s Task Force Releases Report After Appeals Court Rules on ACA Individual Mandate

On January 29, Gov. Edwards released the Protecting Health Coverage in Louisiana Task Force’s final report, showing Louisiana stands to lose $3.6 billion in federal funding if Texas v. United States is successful in overturning the Affordable Care Act, with almost half a million Louisianans losing healthcare.

In December the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals released a decision on a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), affirming a lower-court ruling that said that the ACA’s individual mandate, which was reduced to $0 as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, is no longer considered a tax and so Congress no longer has constitutional authority to enforce the mandate and also held that the whole law is unconstitutional. Twenty states signed onto the lawsuit, including Louisiana by way of Attorney General.

Gov. Edwards created the task force in 2019 following these efforts to repeal the ACA protections offered to Louisianans with preexisting medical conditions and overturn Medicaid expansion.

“The Affordable Care Act is not perfect, but as the report indicates, completely eliminating the program would jeopardize Medicaid expansion, eliminate protections for those with pre-existing conditions and cost the state $3.6 billion in federal funding,” Gov. Edwards said. “The Attorney General’s lawsuit is about political gain, but for hundreds of thousands of Louisianans, it’s about losing access to healthcare and critical health protections. This new report makes it clear: the people of Louisiana and the State of Louisiana simply can’t afford Jeff Landry’s lawsuit.”

According to the Task Force report:
Louisiana stands to lose $3.6 billion from the federal government if the Affordable Care Act is invalidated, with an estimated 494,000 Louisianans losing health coverage.

The outcome of Texas v. United States could invalidate some or all of the provisions of the ACA, making it difficult to quantify the exact funding necessary today to ensure no change in health coverage status for Louisianans.

It would cost more than $536 million for Louisiana to “backfill” the loss of federal subsidies for those enrolled in the federal marketplace and keep key pre-existing condition protections, as imagined in Act 412 of the 2019 Regular Legislative Session. Without this funding, key individual market pre-existing condition protections do not exist.

Without additional funding from the federal government or additional action from Congress, if Texas v. United States is successful, the state would be left to fill budget holes, Medicaid coverage for working adults would be diminished or cut altogether and Louisiana’s uninsured rate would be at risk of going from a historic low of 8 percent in 2018 back to pre-ACA levels, which were more than 17 percent.

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