RENO, Nev. (KOLO) A federal court decision is casting doubt on the future of the Affordable Care Act. The ruling came one day before the final day for Nevadans to enroll in a health insurance plan for 2019.
”It created volatility and unnecessary angst,” Silver State Health Insurance Exchange’s Heather Korbulic says of the controversial ruling on the Affordable Care Act.
Korbulic says anecdotally, Texas Federal Judge Reed O'Conner's opinion that the act is unconstitutional had no impact on Nevadans and their desire to sign up for health insurance.
The latest numbers, and they are not final, show more than 83,000 Nevadans signed up for health insurance through Healthlink, the state’s enrollment site.
Nationally, preliminary enrollment is at 8.5 million, or 4% lower when compared to this time last year. That's well above what some analysts had expected.
The judge's ruling will have no immediate impact on residents who are covered by insurance. However, if the judge's ruling is upheld?
"If," and I say again I'll put a large question mark next to the word "if," if it stands, the entire country's health care systems and health care policy will be massively disrupted,” she says
This doesn't mean states are taking the judge's decision lying down. Last Friday both Nevada's Governor-elect and Attorney General-Elect joined in a multi-state appeal to the ruling.
“We are going to, as a state, join with those attorneys general from the other states who have already sued to defend the ACA. So we will join in the appeal on that issue to get that decision overturned,” says Aaron Ford, Attorney General-Elect of Nevada.
In the meantime, Korbulic says the state will move ahead and continue to create its own site for a health insurance marketplace and drop healthcare.gov by next fall for open enrollment. There could also be changes as Nevada's Legislature convenes in February, as well.
O’Conner’s decision faces appeal in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. It could be struck down or upheld. Either way, the decision could make its way to the U.S Supreme Court.
The case wouldn’t be heard until the fall of 2019 at the earliest. A decision could come down in the midst of both the presidential and congressional campaign season of 2020.