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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.

ON EVE OF ORAL ARGUMENTS IN THE U.S. SUPREME COURT, ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING ISSUES STATEMENT IN DEFENSE OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

~ Herring joins coalition of 21 attorneys general in defending the ACA in the U.S. Supreme Court tomorrow, November 10, 2020; if suit is successful 642,000 Virginians could lose coverage, 3.4 million Virginians with pre-existing conditions would lose their protections ~

RICHMOND (November 9, 2020) — Attorney General Mark R. Herring issued a statement on the importance of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) ahead of tomorrow’s oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court in the health care repeal case California v. Texas. Attorney General Herring and a coalition of 21 attorneys general are defending the ACA against a lawsuit filed by the State of Texas and the Trump Administration that would dismantle the entire ACA, including its protections for people with preexisting conditions, public health investments, and Medicaid expansion, among others. In the midst of rising COVID-19 cases and deaths nationwide, the Trump Administration and the Texas-led state coalition are trying to rip health care away from millions of Americans and risking financial support for states.

 

“Tomorrow, the ACA goes in front of the Supreme Court, facing attacks from President Trump and Republican attorneys general who are playing politics with people’s lives by fighting to dismantle America’s health care system in the middle of a deadly nationwide pandemic,” said Attorney General Herring. “As Attorney General, I have a responsibility to protect all Virginians and I could not stand by and watch the Trump Administration threaten to rip health care away from millions, which is why I stepped in to defend the ACA. The coronavirus and the uncertainty of the last several months have shown us how incredibly important the Affordable Care Act really is, and I will do everything in my power to fight these attacks and preserve our health care system.”

 

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.

 

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 

 

Background:

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 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 May, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues filed a brief at the Supreme Court defending the ACA against efforts by the Trump Administration and Republicans to repeal the entire ACA. In July, the coalition filed a reply brief in the U.S. Supreme Court further defending the ACA against this reckless lawsuit.

 

Joining Attorney General Herring in fighting to protect the Affordable Care Act 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, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

 

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments remotely on Tuesday, November 10, 2020, at 10 a.m. ET.

 

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