For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484
(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today filed a reply brief defending the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the U.S. Supreme Court in an ongoing lawsuit filed by Texas and the Trump administration that would dismantle the entire ACA and put the health care of tens of millions of Americans at risk. In today’s reply brief, Attorney General Stein argues that the ACA is both legal and a crucial resource for Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic and recession.
“Health care is a matter of life or death, especially during a pandemic,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Trying to eliminate the Affordable Care Act is incredibly reckless, putting at risk the lives of more than 500,000 North Carolinians who rely on the ACA for coverage, more than 400,000 North Carolina families who receive subsidies to afford their insurance, and more than 4 million people with pre-existing conditions who benefit from anti-discrimination protections. I will continue to fight to defend affordable and accessible health care for North Carolinians for as long as it takes to win.”
The court agreed to review a 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. If successful, this lawsuit would rescind critical health care coverage protections for 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions, including by allowing health insurance companies to deny individuals care or charge more based on their health status.
The ACA is vital for millions of North Carolinians’ health care. Between 2010 and 2015, more than 500,000 North Carolinians gained health insurance coverage through the ACA. Another 70,000 individuals were able to stay covered on their parents’ insurance. More than 400,000 working families receive subsidies to afford their insurance. More than 4 million North Carolinians benefit from protections against discrimination against pre-existing conditions, and about 1.8 million seniors in North Carolina save more than $1,100 a year on drug prices as a result of the ACA.
The ACA is also vital to the health care industry. Without the ACA, North Carolina hospitals could lose $22.7 billion over the next 10 years and North Carolina physicians could lose $8.7 billion. The amount of uncompensated care costs in North Carolina would increase by a startling $35 billion over this period, forcing everyone’s health insurance premiums to increase.
Attorney General Stein is joined in defending the ACA by 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, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia, as well as the Governor of Kentucky.
A copy of the brief is available here.
More on Attorney General Stein’s work to protect health care for North Carolinians:
- Attorney General Josh Stein Sues U.S. DHHS Over Health Care Discrimination
- Attorney General Josh Stein Challenges the Trump Administration’s Refusal to Open a COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period on HealthCare.Gov
- Attorney General Josh Stein Defends Health Care for North Carolinians in the U.S. Supreme Court
- Attorney General Josh Stein to Federal Government: Stop Health Care Discrimination During a Pandemic
- Attorney General Stein Leads 22-State Coalition Urging Federal Government to Increase Awareness about COVID-19 Health Insurance Coverage Opportunities