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Attorney General of Virginia

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Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

Mark Herring
Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219

 

For media inquiries only, contact:  
Charlotte Gomer, Press Secretary
Phone: (804)786-1022 
Mobile: (804) 512-2552
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING CONTINUES FIGHT TO PROTECT ACA

~ Herring files brief in SCOTUS defending the ACA against efforts by the Trump Administration to repeal it; if suit is successful 642,000 Virginians could lose coverage, 3.4 million Virginians with pre-existing conditions would lose their protections ~

RICHMOND  – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today joined a multistate coalition in filing 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, including 642,000 Virginians who could lose coverage. The Supreme Court agreed to review a recent 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. Back in May, Attorney General Herring joined a coalition of 21 attorneys general in filing a brief at the Supreme Court defending the ACA against efforts by the Trump Administration and Republicans to repeal the entire ACA.

 

If successful, this lawsuit would rescind critical healthcare coverage protections for 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions, including 3.4 million Virginians, who would lose their protections, and would allow health insurance companies to deny individuals care or charge more based on their health status. In today’s brief, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues argue that the ACA is not only legal, but is a crucial resource for Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic and recession.

 

“The Trump Administration is still trying to overturn the Affordable Care Act even as we continue to find ourselves in the middle of a deadly pandemic. If the ACA were not in place during this national health crisis, millions of Virginians and Americans with pre-existing conditions, the most susceptible to COVID-19, would have been left without insurance, undoubtedly leading to even more lives lost,” said Attorney General Herring. “From the outset, this lawsuit has been politically motivated and has forced millions to live in fear that their healthcare could be ripped away from them at any moment, with absolutely no replacement plan. Trump and his Republican allies continue to play political games with Americans’ lives, and I will do everything I can to stop them from disrupting our healthcare system, especially during a time when it would be absolutely catastrophic."

 

In January, Attorney General Herring joined a coalition of 21 attorneys general in filing a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of the Fifth Circuit’s decision in Texas v. U.S. The Fifth Circuit’s decision held the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional and called into question whether the remaining provisions of the ACA could still stand, including those that protect and provide coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions.

 

In order to protect Virginians’ healthcare, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues intervened to defend the Affordable Care Act in this lawsuit after President Trump switched sides and joined with Republican state attorneys general in trying to strike down the law. Following a Texas district court judge’s decision in December 2018 that found the ACA unconstitutional, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues immediately appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

 

In today’s filing, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues push 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 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; 
  • Improved payment reforms and increased access to Medicare for seniors and people disabilities; and
  • Nearly $1.3 trillion in federal funding being dedicated to keeping Americans healthy and covered, including Medicaid expansion and public health dollars.
  • The expansion of health insurance and services that have been critical in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

If the Trump Administration and its allies are successful in eliminating the ACA with this lawsuit:

  • 642,000 Virginians could lose their health coverage, leading to a 96% increase in the uninsured rate in the Commonwealth
  • The 3,441,400 Virginians who have pre-existing conditions would lose their protections and insurance companies would be able to deny or drop coverage and charge more for those pre-existing conditions
  • 289,081 Virginians in the marketplace would have to pay more for their coverage
  • 109,517 Virginia seniors could have to pay more for their prescription drugs
  • Insurance companies would be allowed to discriminate against women by charging them higher premiums
  • $1.15 billion in tax credits that helped 335,000 Virginians afford insurance in 2017 would be ended
  • Funding from our nation’s public health system would be stripped, including work to combat the opioid epidemic
  • Billions in federal aid for health care would be stripped, including $458 million in FY 2019 and $1.9 billion in FY 2020

 

Joining Attorney General Herring in filing today’s reply brief are the attorneys general of California, 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, Washington, and the District of Columbia, as well as the Governor of Kentucky.

 

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