Attorney General Becerra Leads Multistate Reply Brief in Supreme Court Fight to Save the ACA

Wednesday, July 29, 2020
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SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, leading a coalition of 20 states and D.C., today filed a reply brief in the U.S. Supreme Court defending the Affordable Care Act (ACA) against a lawsuit filed by the State of Texas and the Trump Administration that would dismantle the entire ACA, putting the healthcare of tens of millions of Americans at risk. The Court agreed to review a Fifth Circuit decision that held the ACA’s individual mandate unconstitutional and called into question whether the remaining provisions of the law could still stand—jeopardizing Medicaid expansion, critical public health programs that help fight COVID-19, and subsidies that help working families access care, among countless others. If successful, this lawsuit would rescind critical healthcare coverage protections for 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions, including by allowing health insurance companies to deny individuals care or charge more based on their health status. In today’s reply brief, the coalition argues that the ACA is not only legal, but a crucial resource for Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic and recession.

“As the nation weathers an unprecedented public health crisis, the Trump Administration continues to gamble with Americans’ health,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The President, like a professional hustler, vows to ‘always protect people with pre-existing conditions’ as he actively argues in the Supreme Court to strip away those very protections and much more. America can’t afford double-talk. As unemployment rises along with COVID-19 infections, access to quality, affordable healthcare is more important than ever."

In today’s filing, California’s coalition pushes back against the arguments made by the Trump Administration and the Texas coalition. The reply brief makes clear that patients, doctors, hospitals, employers, workers, and States will be negatively impacted by this litigation and an adverse ruling. If the Trump Administration and Texas get their way, they would put at risk important advancements in healthcare access made under the ACA, including: 

  • More than 12 million Americans receiving coverage through Medicaid expansion;
  • Nearly 9 million individuals nationwide receiving tax credits to help afford health insurance coverage through individual marketplaces;
  • Millions of working families relying on high-quality, employer-sponsored insurance plans; 
  • Important protections prohibiting insurers from denying health insurance to the 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions (like diabetes, cancer, or pregnancy) or from charging individuals higher premiums because of their health status; 
  • The refined way Medicare payments are made to improve health outcomes and access to medical services for seniors and people with disabilities; 
  • Nearly $1.3 trillion in federal funding dedicated to keeping Americans healthy and covered, including Medicaid expansion and public health dollars; and
  • The expansion of health insurance and services that have been critical in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joining Attorney General Becerra in defending the ACA are the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota (by and through its Department of Commerce), Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia, as well as the Governor of Kentucky.

A copy of the brief is available here.

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