Officials Intervene in Pending Case to Ensure Effective Defense of Affordable Care Act (ACA)
LOS ANGELES – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today took legal action to challenge the Trump Administration and protect health care access for millions of Americans. Joined by Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington state and the District of Columbia, Attorneys General Becerra and Schneiderman moved to intervene in a lawsuit filed by House Republicans that undercuts the affordability of health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The lawsuit, House v. Price, would eliminate the stable funding that the law created to protect millions of working families from high healthcare costs. Experts predict that simply the threat to end this funding could destabilize the healthcare market and increase premiums by as much as 21%. The Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans have made clear that their number one priority is to repeal the ACA and take away affordable healthcare.
“No parent should worry if they can afford to take their child to a doctor or hospital,” said Attorney General Becerra. “President Trump’s unpredictable behavior and lack of defense of the healthcare coverage of millions of Americans under the ACA threatens to resurrect those fears of every parent. Here in California, more than 5 million people now receive quality, affordable health care under the ACA, many for the first time. No one wants to return to the days when a child was denied care because of a preexisting condition, when a woman was charged more than a man for the same health care plan, when you needed care the most and found you had reached your lifetime limit. My fellow attorneys general and I seek to intervene in House v. Price to defend each of these Americans.”
“Millions of families across the country – including hundreds of thousands right here in New York – rely on these subsidies for their basic health care. We're talking about people's lives – and for President Trump and the Republicans to use them as pawns in a political game is simply unconscionable,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “No family should have to choose between protecting their child's health and putting a roof over their heads. That's why we're taking legal action now, and I won't stop fighting to protect New Yorkers' right to affordable, quality health care.”
In California, since the inception of the ACA, the number of Californians without health insurance has fallen from 17% of the population in 2013 to 7.1% in 2016, an historic low. California has proven that the ACA works when state leaders make an earnest effort to make it work.
Since the inception of the ACA, the number of New Yorkers without health insurance has fallen from 10% of the population in 2013 to 5% in 2016, a historic low. In New York alone, the state offered roughly 730,000 residents $900 million in cost-sharing reduction payments in 2017, principally through the Essential Plan, which is administered by the State with the assistance of private insurers.
In President Trump’s own words, the House v. Price lawsuit could “explode” the ACA and leave millions of Americans without affordable healthcare coverage, leaving states to pick up the pieces. The intervention by the aforementioned states seeks to protect health care coverage secured for Americans under the ACA. Read the States’ Motion to Intervene and the Motion to Lift the Abeyance. To read what people are saying about the possible end to the cost-sharing subsidies, click here.
The Commonwealth of Kentucky has joined in the motion to intervene, but for its own reasons, which can be found in its press release.
Background on House v. Price:
The cost-sharing subsidies help working families access more affordable healthcare coverage by helping individuals with incomes between $11,880 and $29,700. The Kaiser Family Foundation projects premiums will increase by 19% on average across the country to compensate if there is a loss of the subsidy payments, finding that the premium increases would be higher in states that have not expanded Medicaid (premium increases of 21%).
House Republicans sued the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) during the Obama Administration, challenging the legality of making the cost-sharing subsidies. A district court judge ruled in favor of the House, but the ruling was appealed in order to protect access to healthcare, and the subsidies were permitted to continue pending appeal. After the election, the House requested that the case be held in suspension while newly-elected President Trump had time to make decisions regarding the case. During this time, the President has continually played politics with people’s access to affordable healthcare, including threatening to shut down the federal government by taking health care subsidies away from Americans who need health care.