Delaware Public Media

State officials seek to reassure Delawareans after ACA court ruling

Dec 18, 2018

Delaware and other states are expected to appeal a federal judge’s ruling striking down the Affordable Care Act.

The judge in Texas ruled Friday the ACA’s individual mandate requiring everyone have health insurance is now unconstitutional because Congress zeroed-out the tax penalty and the judge said that invalidates the rest of the law.

State officials are reassuring Delawareans that people with Affordable Care Act health insurance will continue to have coverage. Delaware Health and Social Services Secretary Kara Odom Walker said the federal government plans to continue supporting the ACA while the First State and others appeal. That could take at least a couple of years.

“I mean, I think it would be incredibly surprising if the Supreme Court upheld this decision," she said. "However, the provisions really do protect Delawareans to the extent that we have to really say this is unacceptable.”

In 2018, 24,500 people in Delaware were enrolled in ACA marketplace plans.

Walker said those Delawareans and others covered by the expansion of Medicaid depend on the law to access medical services for themselves and their families.

“The provisions of the ACA protect everyone, where you know they were previously able to be denied coverage due to pre-existing health conditions or young people who were covered on their parents’ insurance,” she said.

Delaware and other states defending the ACA had asked the judge to clarify if his ruling takes effect immediately. State Attorney General Matt Denn argues Delaware will face devastating harm if the health care law is immediately invalidated.

The judge ordered the parties to file briefs on remaining issues by Friday.