Families USA Urges Federal Court to Consider Devastating Impact of ACA Lawsuit on Families
Texas Case Demonstrates the Trump Administration’s and Texas Attorney General’s Lack of Commitment to the Constitution and the American People
Washington, D.C.— Today, Families USA led efforts to file an amicus brief in the case Texas v United States, along with fellow amici: Community Catalyst, the National Health Law Program, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and the Texas-based Center for Public Policy Priorities. In the brief, we argue that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains constitutional even after recent amendments passed by Congress reduced the tax on individuals who do not obtain health insurance to $0 in 2019.
The Texas case threatens both the ACA’s Medicaid expansion provision and the availability of federal financial assistance for meaningful coverage in the individual market. The amicus brief focuses on the devastating impact that the elimination of these two provisions would have on the 20 million people with low to moderate incomes who would lose meaningful coverage, including 12 million people who get their coverage through the Medicaid expansion and 8 million who purchase coverage in the individual market using federal subsidies.
The lawsuit also aims to overturn basic consumer protections that were included in the ACA—such as the provision that allows children under 26 years old to be covered under their parents’ plans, the prohibition on lifetime and yearly dollar limits on coverage, and free preventive care. These protections apply to nearly 180 million people who get health insurance through their employer or purchase it on their own in the individual market.
As we explain in our amicus brief: “As a result of the ACA, the drop in the uninsured rate in 2014 was the largest since Medicare was passed and Medicaid first ramped up in the early 1970s. By 2016, the ACA had lowered the number of people without health insurance by more than 20 million people. Invalidating the Affordable Care Act, the relief that the plaintiff States seek, would reverse these gains with devastating health consequences to millions of adults and children in the United States.”
“We believe the lawsuit brought by Texas is without merit, but we take it seriously because, if successful, millions of people would lose the health coverage and consumer protections that enable their families to see a doctor when they need one,” said Frederick Isasi, executive director of Families USA. “Texas and the other challengers should be working to reduce the number of uninsured families in their states instead of playing politics and trying to dismantle existing funding that makes coverage affordable and overturning critical consumer protections.”
Last week, the U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the U.S. Department of Justice will not defend the ACA against the Texas lawsuit.
“The Trump administration is completely disregarding the Constitution and the Executive Branch’s obligation to defend federal laws,” said Mr. Isasi. “In particular, the administration states unequivocally that the court should eliminate protections in federal law for people with preexisting health conditions or who have been sick, threatening coverage for millions, including children with asthma, pregnant women, people with cancer, as well as older adults, who suffer a range of chronic illness, including diabetes and heart disease.”
“Families USA and our partners strongly disagree with the Trump administration. People with preexisting conditions have the right to be protected under federal law,” added Mr. Isasi. “We are continuing our work to protect the very important benefits that families across our nation have gained because of the Affordable Care Act. The ACA is critical to ensuring that millions of families have access to both health care and financial protection if they experience a serious illness. We are proud to provide the court this information as it considers the merits of this lawsuit.”