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GOP Continues Its Court Case to Overturn Protections for People with Pre-Existing Conditions

By July 31, 2018No Comments

Case Highlights #WhatsAtStake with Kavanaugh’s Nomination to Supreme Court

Case Continues In Spite of Overwhelming and Growing Opposition from the Public

Washington, D.C. – Late last night, the Trump-GOP lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA) advanced in the District Court, having been fully briefed by all parties. This means a judge could soon rule to overturn the ACA, including its protections for the 130 million Americans living with pre-existing conditions. Twenty Republican state attorneys general and governors and the Trump Administration press on with this case, Texas v. HHS, despite overwhelming opposition from the public at large, as well as state and national health care experts.      

“What the Republicans told the court is exceptional: They have doubled down on their request for a preliminary injunction invalidating the entire Affordable Care Act, and all protections and regulations related to it. This case is now one step further on its way to its likely ultimate destination: the Supreme Court. The overwhelming majority of Americans are strongly opposed to this outrageous lawsuit, but there’s one individual whose opinion matters more than all of ours right now: Brett Kavanaugh, who has already criticized previous Supreme Court decisions to protect the Affordable Care Act, and whose confirmation to the Supreme Court could mean the end of the health care protections hundreds millions of Americans rely on. A vote for Brett Kavanaugh is a vote to take away America’s health care. Americans from coast to coast will continue to raise their voices and and urge their Senators to stand up against this nomination,” said Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care.

Texas v. HHS Case Background

The dangerous lawsuit filed by 20 Republican state officials in February and joined by the Trump administration in June threatens care and coverage for tens of millions of Americans and would eliminate vital protections that benefit everyone. At risk:

  • Protections for 130 million people with pre-existing conditions when they buy coverage on their own
  • Improvements to Medicare, including reduced costs for prescription drugs
  • Allowing kids to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26
  • Ban on annual and lifetime limits
  • Ban on insurance discrimination against women
  • Limit on out-of-pocket costs
  • Medicaid expansion currently covering 15 million people
  • Rules to hold insurance companies accountable
  • Small business tax credits
  • Marketplace tax credits and coverage for 10 million people

The Trump-GOP Lawsuit Continues Over Overwhelming Opposition from the Public

  • 94 Percent Of Voters Want Supreme Court To Protect Pre-Existing Conditions. A new poll released this week from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund was released found that 94 percent of voters want the Supreme Court to uphold protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
  • 64 Percent Of Voters Don’t Want Supreme Court To Overturn Protections For People With Pre-Existing Conditions. Kaiser’s July tracking poll found that 64 percent of voters do not want the Supreme Court to overturn protections for people with pre-existing conditions, including 71 percent of Independents.
  • Two-Thirds Of Voters Disapprove Of Trump Justice Department’s Actions To Overturn Protections For People With Pre-Existing Conditions. When asked in a Hart Research poll about the Trump Justice Department’s decision to take to court to argue against protections for people with pre-existing conditions, two-thirds of voters voiced their disapproval.

The Trump-GOP  Lawsuit Continues Over Opposition from Local Health Care Advocates

  • In Alaska, on behalf of the 326,000 Alaskans with pre-existing conditions, State Senators Berta Gardner, Ivy Spohnholz, Bill Wielechowski, Scott Kawasaki, Dennis Egan, Harriet Drummond, and Tom Begich sent a letter to Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth, asking her to drop Alaska from the lawsuit and defend the protections for the Alaskans who depend on them.
  • In Arizona, on behalf of the 2.8 million Arizonans with pre-existing conditions, Rep. Ruben Gallego signed a letter to Attorney General Mark Brnovich, urging him to immediately withdraw Arizona from the lawsuit and instead work to ensure that Arizonans are able to obtain affordable, comprehensive coverage.
  • In Indiana, on behalf of the 2.7 million Hoosiers with pre-existing conditions, health care advocates from across the state delivered letters and a petition to Attorney General Curtis Hill, urging him to remove drop Indiana from the lawsuit and instead work to protect the millions of Hoosiers with pre-existing conditions. “Indiana doesn’t have to – and shouldn’t be – part of this shameful sabotage. The lives of Hoosiers are at stake,” said Protect Our Care Indiana Spokeswoman Kate Shepherd.
  • In Maine, on behalf of the 548,000 Mainers with pre-existing conditions, Protect Our Care Maine, National Alliance on Mental Illness Maine, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, the Maine Women’s Lobby and other organizations signed a letter urging Gov. Paul LePage to remove himself from the lawsuit and instead start working to protect Mainers’ care.
  • In Nevada, on behalf of the 1.2 million Nevadans with pre-existing conditions, more than thirty elected officials, including state senators, assemblymembers, Clark County commissioners, and city council members from Las Vegas, Henderson City, North Las Vegas, and Reno signed a letter to Attorney General Adam Laxalt, urging him to drop Nevada from the lawsuit and instead work to protect  the Nevadans who depend on the care these protections provide.
  • In North Dakota, on behalf of the 316,000 North Dakotans with pre-existing conditions, protesters protested Vice President Mike Pence and s Attorney General Wayne Stenjam’s backing of the GOP lawsuit seeking to overturn benefits for North Dakotans with pre-existing conditions.
  • In Ohio, on behalf of the 4.8 million Ohioans with pre-existing conditions, 25 elected officials from across the state, including Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein, the Columbus City Council, the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, and the Dayton City Commission, including Mayor Nan Whaley, signed letters asking Attorney General Mike DeWine to drop Ohio from the lawsuit and instead support the protections for Ohioans.
  • In Tennessee, on behalf of the 2.7 million Tennesseans with pre-existing conditions, more than 900 Tennesseans signed a letter to Attorney General General Herbert Slatery III calling on him to drop Tennessee from the lawsuit and instead work to support the Tennesseans who depend on these protections for pre-existing conditions.
  • In West Virginia, on behalf of the 738,000 West Virginians with pre-existing conditions, 23 groups, including West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, the West Virginia Citizen Action Group, and the West Virginia AFL-CIO, signed a letter to Attorney General Patrick Morrisey  and Governor Jim Justice, calling on them to drop West Virginia from the lawsuit and instead work to support the hundreds of thousands of West Virginians with pre-existing conditions.

The Trump-GOP Lawsuit  Continues Over Opposition from Health Care Providers and Experts

  • American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American DIabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and National Multiple Sclerosis Society: “Striking Down These Provisions Would Be Catastrophic And Have Dire Consequences For Many Patients With Serious Illnesses.” Invalidating the ACA in whole or in part “would be devastating for the millions of Americans who suffer from serious illness or have preexisting conditions and rely on those protections under current law to obtain life-saving health care. If either the plaintiffs’ or the administration’s position were adopted by the court, people with serious illness are likely to be denied coverage due to their preexisting conditions or charged such high premiums because of their health status that they will be unable to afford any coverage that may be offered. Without access to comprehensive coverage, patients will be forced to delay, skip, or forego care. Striking down these provisions would be catastrophic and have dire consequences for many patients with serious illnesses.” [American Cancer Society et. al, 6/14/18]
  • American Medical Association, The American Academy of Family Physicians, The American College of Physicians, The American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: “​Invalidating The Guaranteed-issue And Community Rating Provisions—or The ​entire A​CA—would Have A Devastating Impact On Doctors, Patients, And The American Health Care System As A Whole.” “Congress declined to do what the Plaintiffs ask this Court to do for a reason: the consequences of repealing the ACA would be staggering…Plaintiffs’ proposed remedies . . . would strip health care from tens of millions of Americans who depend on the ACA; produce skyrocketing insurance costs; and sow chaos in the nation’s health care system​…The ACA’s ‘nationwide protections for Americans with pre-existing health conditions’ has played a ‘key role’ in allowing 3.6 million people to obtain affordable health insurance. Severing those vital insurance reforms would leave millions without much-needed insurance.” [AMA et. al, 6/14/18]
  • American Hospital Association, Federation of American Hospitals, The Catholic Health Association of the United States, and Association of American Medical Colleges: “A judicial repeal would have severe consequences for America’s hospitals, which would be forced to shoulder the greater uncompensated-care burden that the ACA’s repeal would create.” The relief sought by Texas and its allies “would have devastating consequences, kicking millions of Americans off of coverage and inflicting on them all the harms that come with being uninsured. These harms would fall on the low-income families least able to cope with them. ​And a judicial repeal would have severe consequences for America’s hospitals, which would be forced to shoulder the greater uncompensated-care burden that the ACA’s repeal would create.” [American Hospital Association et. al, 6/14/18]
  • Public Health Scholars and the American Public Health Association: “The Foreseeable Public Health Consequences Of The Injunction Are Nothing Short of Catastrophic.” “Without the ACA, the health of millions of Americans would be harmed. Consider the grim analyses of proposed legislation partially repealing the ACA: In 2017, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (“CBO”) assessed the impact of a bill partially repealing the ACA and found (among other things) that it would, in “the first new plan year following enactment of the bill” alone, increase the number of uninsured Americans by 18 million. That number would grow to 27 million after the “year following the elimination of the Medicaid expansion,” and then to 32 million by 2026. Still more is at stake here: Unlike the injunctive relief plaintiffs seek, the bill analyzed by CBO would have staggered its partial repeal of the ACA to avoid catastrophic results. Here, plaintiffs ask the Court to eliminate, as preliminary injunctive relief, a complex statute in its eighth year of implementation—a statute whose repeal through democratic means has been attempted innumerable times but has never succeeded.” [Public Health Scholars et. al, 6/14/18]
  • AARP: Before ACA’s Protections, Discrimination Against Those With Pre-Existing Conditions, Age Rating, And Annual And Lifetime Caps Made Accessing Health Care Out Of Reach For Older Adults. “Uninsured pre-Medicare adults faced nearly insurmountable challenges to securing insurance because they were denied coverage based on preexisting conditions or offered costly policies that excluded coverage for needed care. Even without preexisting conditions, insurance premiums for older adults were as much as 11 times greater than their younger counterparts solely based on their age. Even a healthy person who was age 50 to 64 with no preexisting conditions faced markedly higher insurance premium rates than a younger person. Age rating put the cost of insurance out of reach for many pre-Medicare adults. Annual and lifetime caps—which were easily exceeded by treatment for a single illness such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes—meant that many older adults either went without treatment until they became eligible for Medicare or incurred financially ruinous medical debt.” [AARP, 6/14/18]