Washington, D.C. — In June, the Trump administration announced that it would refuse to defend the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions from a lawsuit brought by 20 states. The lawsuit argues that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s repeal of the individual health insurance mandate should invalidate all—or as the administration argues, key parts—of the Affordable Care Act.
This evening, Judge Reed O’Connor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, and former chief counsel to the Senate Republican whip, struck down the entire Affordable Care Act, including its key consumer protections for people with pre-existing conditions. These rules require insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions and ban insurers from charging people more based on their health status or gender. More than 130 million Americans have pre-existing conditions. The ruling also ends the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, as well as its premium tax credits, and reopens the Medicare Part D prescription drug “donut hole.”
Judge O’Connor’s ruling has not yet been enforced and will likely be appealed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement in response to the decision:
For eight years straight, conservatives and their partisan, political allies have stopped at nothing to destroy the Affordable Care Act, which has helped nearly 20 million Americans gain health coverage.
Having lost multiple cases at the U.S. Supreme Court and a high-profile legislative battle to repeal the health care law, 20 far-right state attorneys general, with the backing of the Trump administration, shopped around a dangerous lawsuit to strike down the health care law.
This partisan crusade has grave consequences for the American people, particularly the most vulnerable, including those with pre-existing conditions and disabilities. If enforced, it would increase prescription drug costs for the American people and go back to the days where insurers could deny coverage to Americans based on the quality of their health.
Fabricating Congress’ intent to fit a political agenda is not how the law works, and it’s not how health care policy should be made. This decision and the suspect timing of its release underscore the need for more fair and independent judges in the federal court system.
Last month, the American people sent a loud and clear message that every American should have access to quality, affordable health care. This ruling flies in the face of what the public is demanding and will be rejected upon appeal to a fair judge.
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