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Professor Rob Field Takes to Media to Critique New Effort to Repeal ACA, Discuss Vaccine Refusals

Professor Robert Field

April 02, 2019

Professor Rob Field offered a critique in The Philadelphia Inquirer of the new effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act and shared his views in an interview with WNYC on the impact of vaccine refusals.

Field authored an op-ed in The Inquirer on March 28 contending that if the Trump Administration succeeds in its new effort to get ACA struck down by the courts as unconstitutional, “almost everyone would feel the catastrophic effects.” Previously, the administration had argued that protections for individuals with pre-existing medical conditions should not be upheld.

“Its original position was destructive enough in pulling health insurance from millions of people who are sick,” Field wrote. “Its new position would wreak havoc throughout most of American health care.”

He explained that should it succeed, millions of individuals would be affected, from adult children kicked off their parents’ plans, to hospital partnerships closing, to the poor and disabled losing coverage. He added that millions of seniors would have to face the “donut hole” gaps in Medicare prescription coverage.

Field ultimately believes that there is no legal basis for the administration’s new argument, which is that since the Supreme Court upheld the law’s directive to obtain insurance as a tax, the 2017 repeal of the tax by Congress eliminated its legal basis. It argues that since the mandate is necessary to the law’s purpose that it cannot be separated from any of the other provisions, therefore necessitating that everything go. Field counters that even if that were to be found unconstitutional, Congress has clearly communicated its wish to maintain the remainder of the law.

On March 28, WNYC’s Jami Floyd interviewed Field on Rockland County, New York’s recent and unprecedented bar of unvaccinated minors from public places. Though he says that “hardcore vaccine refusers [are] not going to listen to anything,” he said it may just be what some parents need to hear in order to push them in the direction of vaccination. “I think that the effectiveness … is more as a bully pulpit, telling the public how serious the public health officials think it is.”

Professor Field is an internationally recognized expert in health care regulation and its role in implementing public policy. He serves as director of the JD-MPH program at the Kline School of Law and Drexel’s Dornsife School of Public Health.