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Attorney General Nessel Joins Coalition Seeking Supreme Court Review of Affordable Care Act Repeal Case

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Friday January 3, 2020 joined 19 other Attorneys General and the Governor of Kentucky in filing a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of the Fifth Circuit’s recent decision in Texas v. U.S. 

The decision held the individual mandate – to obtain health insurance coverage – of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) 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. 

Since this decision causes uncertainty that may harm the health of millions of Americans, as well as doctors, clinics, patients, and the healthcare market, Attorney General Nessel and the coalition are petitioning the Supreme Court to take up the case and resolve it before the end of the Court’s current term in June.  

“The Affordable Care Act is essential to ensure that Michigan families with children under the age of 26 and those with preexisting conditions continue to be protected with health insurance,” said Nessel. “Governor Whitmer and I will do everything in our power to stop the efforts to derail the ACA.”

If the ACA is struck down, coverage for millions of Michigan residents may be stripped away including: 

  • Protections for 4,103,600 Michiganders with pre-existing conditions might end.
  • 720,000 Michiganders could lose their coverage, causing a 115% increase in the uninsured rate.
  • Medicaid expansion would be repealed, meaning the 688,300 Michiganders who are covered through Medicaid expansion may lose coverage.
  • 73,000 young adults will no longer be able to stay on their parents’ coverage.
  • Protections for women, who insurance companies previously charged 50% more than men, may disappear.
  • Key support for rural hospitals could vanish, leaving Michigan hospitals on the hook for $1.9 billion more in uncompensated care costs.
  • 4,543,547 Michiganders could once again have to pay for preventive care, like mammograms and flu shots.
  • Insurers will no longer have to cover a set of essential health benefits, including hospitalization, prescription drugs, or mental health services.

The lawsuit was originally filed by a Texas-led coalition and supported by the Trump Administration, which argued that Congress rendered the ACA’s individual mandate unconstitutional when it reduced the penalty to $0. They further argued that the rest of the ACA should be held invalid as a result of that change.

California and its coalition including Michigan are defending the ACA in its entirety. The Fifth Circuit held that the individual mandate is unconstitutional but declined to further rule on the validity of the ACA’s remaining provisions. The court instead sent the case back to the Northern District of Texas to determine which provisions of the 900-page law are still valid. 

Friday’s filing by the coalition makes clear that patients, doctors, hospitals, employers, states, pharmaceutical companies and more will be impacted by the looming uncertainty of the Fifth Circuit’s decision. It asks the Supreme Court to review the case this term. It also highlights 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; and
  • Nearly $1.3 trillion in federal funding being dedicated to keeping Americans healthy and covered, including Medicaid expansion and public health dollars.

Nessel joins the Attorneys General of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota (by and through its Department of Commerce), Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington along with the Governor of Kentucky in filing this petition.

A copy of the petition is available here.