Attorney General Becerra Files Motion to Stop Trump Administration Rule that Would Permit Discrimination in Healthcare

Thursday, September 10, 2020
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, and New York Attorney General Letitia James, leading a coalition of 23 attorneys general, today filed a motion for summary judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York asking that the Trump Administration’s discriminatory rule undermining Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) be vacated and set aside. Section 1557 is the first federal civil rights law to expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, and age in federal health programs. The rule issued by the Administration illegally rolls back these critical protections.

“The game-changing power of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act lies in its simplicity. It guarantees every American the right to be free from discrimination in accessing healthcare under federal programs. There was a time when many of us could not expect that,” said Attorney General Becerra. "Especially during a global pandemic when all of our communities need safe, reliable access to essential care, no American should fear they will be left behind because of their race, color, sex, national origin, disability or age. Yet, the Trump Administration seeks to dismantle Section 1557’s protections. This is 2020, not 1920. We’re taking President Trump to court to prove that this is not 1920.”

In the motion for summary judgment, the coalition argues that the rule should be vacated in its entirety because: 

  • It is contrary to law, including ACA Section 1557;
  • The States will bear new administrative, regulatory, investigative, enforcement, and healthcare burdens and costs because of it;
  • The removal of the definition of “on the basis of sex” and weakened protections for language assistance services is arbitrary and capricious; and
  • The rule’s addition of broad religious exemptions for abortion are arbitrary and capricious, contrary to law, and exceed statutory authority.

On April 30, 2020, Attorneys General Becerra and Healey led a multistate coalition in filing a comment letter urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) not to finalize its proposed regulation which sought to undermine Section 1557's critical anti-discrimination protections for marginalized populations. In July, the coalition, led by Attorneys General Becerra, Healey and James filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration's final rule. Federal judges in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York and the District of Columbia have recently blocked HHS from enforcing portions of the rule in cases filed by private litigants. 

Attorneys General Becerra, Healey and James are joined by the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. 

 A copy of the motion is available here.

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