December 18, 2019, Washington, DC – The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) expressed its disappointment at the ruling of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Texas, et al. v. United States, et al. NCJW Chief Policy Officer Jody Rabhan released the following statement:
“Today, the Fifth Circuit all but handed District Judge Reed O’Connor carte blanche to dismantle the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA), once again reminding us of the importance of all federal courts. Just over a year ago, Judge O’Connor issued a deeply flawed ruling declaring the ACA legally void. Today, the Fifth Circuit invalidated the individual mandate and sent the case back down to the district court to decide if the rest of the ACA will survive. We already know where Judge O’Connor stands on this question.
“Let’s be clear: destroying the entire ACA would lead to chaos for the tens of millions of Americans who will directly lose coverage as well as those who will lose vital protections and critical health benefits enshrined into law by the ACA. The ACA is a critical source of health care coverage for America’s historically underserved communities including individuals and families living in poverty, people of color, women, immigrants, LGBTQI individuals, individuals with disabilities, seniors, and individuals with limited English proficiency. Furthermore, the ACA has been instrumental in covering a wide range of preventive services, ensuring that individuals have access to life-saving cancer screenings and treatment as well as effective contraception and reproductive health care services (well visits, mammograms, lactation counselling and supplies) at no cost to the patient. The confusion surrounding the fate of this landmark legislation, and whether its essential patient protections remain will in effect, will undoubtedly chill access to care and the insurance necessary to access that care.
“Jewish tradition teaches that each of us is made in the image of the divine — b’tselem Elohim (Genesis 1:26) — meaning every single person’s health is paramount and unassailable. We have an obligation to care for and protect our bodies and to ensure all others can do the same. NCJW was proud to play a role in the enactment of the ACA, and we won’t stop fighting for it now.”
The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms.