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U.S. Supreme Court upholds the Affordable Care Act, third time a Republican-led challenge has failed

Posted at 6:47 PM, Jun 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 21:47:16-04

PHOENIX — Having fun in the pool with his Big Brother Zachary cooking on the grill you'd never know how challenging life spin for five-year-old Anthony Gomez.

“That first ten weeks at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, transplant and amputation, and the weeks after. The total for that was well over $3-million,” says Anthony’s dad Steven.

Anthony was born with a heart defect. He had a heart transplant at six weeks old. He's literally one of thousands of Arizonans depended on how the Supreme Court decided.

“It's tripping me crazy. It's one of those things that enrages me just angers me and brought me to tears as well,” said Steven Gomez about the conversations he would have with his wife. “What are we going to do to provide for our family.”

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich signed onto the Republican-led lawsuit with 17 other Republican-led states who were trying to kill the Affordable Care Act.

They argued the A.C.A. was unconstitutional after Congress, in 2017, eliminated the penalty for failing to obtain health insurance. Two lower courts agreed with the opinion, but the Supreme Court did not rule on the argument, rather it said the states had no standing to sue and rejected their case.

“Fortunately the Supreme Court upheld the act today. We don’t have to talk about all those persons who would have lost all their health insurance in Arizona. But it’s more than 250,000. Probably a great deal more than that,” said Will Humble, executive director of the Public Health Association.

Humble said if the Supreme Court had ruled the other way, Medicaid expansion would have been eliminated overnight and subsidies for marketplace insurance plans would disappear.

Other provisions of the A.C.A. like parents being able to keep their children on their health insurance until the age of 26, and either drop or require people with pre-existing conditions to pay more.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has really had the back of the opponents of A.C.A.” said Humble. “Because had they gone the other direction, everyone would have been asking the question of Governor Ducey and others what do you plan on doing Governor. They don’t have answers.”

Through his spokesperson, Attorney General Brnovich told ABC15 “Now it’s even more incumbent on Congress to pass legally sound policies to fix our broken healthcare system, further fractured by the Affordable Care Act. Congressional leaders need to stop the partisan bickering and get the job done. I am proud to have worked with Arizona lawmakers to provide protections at the state level for those with pre-existing conditions.”

The law Republican state legislators passed allows insurance companies to raise rates on people with pre-existing conditions.

But Steven Gomez doesn’t have to think about his son’s insurance and the impact it could have on his family. The U.S. Supreme Court decision relieved that stress. “It was amazing alright, we are okay now.”