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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.


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

RICHMOND (May 6, 2020) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today joined a coalition of 20 attorneys general in filing a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court defending the Affordable Care Act (ACA) against efforts by the Trump Administration and Republicans to repeal 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. Critically, this decision threatens 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.


“We have repeatedly had to go to the Supreme Court to stop Republican attempts to end the Affordable Care Act. We are in the middle of a massive public health crisis and if the ACA were not in place millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions, the most susceptible to the virus, would have been uninsured, undoubtedly leading to more deaths,” said Attorney General Herring. “This has been a politically motivated lawsuit from the beginning, forcing Americans to live in fear that they could lose their healthcare at any moment without any kind of replacement plan. Trump and his Republican allies’ decision to continue to play political games with peoples’ lives during a worldwide pandemic just shows how callous they truly are. A disruption to our healthcare system would be absolutely catastrophic and I will stop at nothing to protect Virginians healthcare from Republicans’ dangerous, reckless attacks.”


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 make clear that patients, doctors, hospitals, employers, workers, states, pharmaceutical companies and more will be negatively impacted if the ACA should fall. The brief also highlights 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; and
  • Nearly $1.3 trillion in federal funding being dedicated to keeping Americans healthy and covered, including Medicaid expansion and public health dollars.


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 defending the Affordable Care Act in front of the Supreme Court 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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