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Attorney General Nessel Joins Multistate Reply Brief in Supreme Court Fight to Save the ACA

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel along with 19 other attorneys general filed a reply brief today in the U.S. Supreme Court defending the Affordable Care Act (ACA) against a lawsuit filed by the State of Texas and the federal government that would dismantle the entire ACA, putting the health care of tens of millions of Americans at risk.

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. In today’s reply brief, the coalition argues that the ACA is not only legal, but is a crucial resource for Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic and recession.

“Millions of people across this nation have benefited from the Affordable Care Act, and the Trump administration and its supporters continue on their quest to repeal the ACA at a time when those people need it most—in the middle of a public health emergency,” said Nessel. “This lawsuit seeks to dismantle the entire ACA and doesn’t provide a realistic alternative to replace it. More than 4 million Michiganders with preexisting conditions could lose vital health care protections if the State of Texas and the Trump administration have their way. We must defend the ACA from these attacks so that access to quality health care for so many people is not jeopardized.”

In today’s filing, the coalition pushes back against the arguments made by the Trump administration and the Texas coalition. The reply brief makes clear that patients, doctors, hospitals, employers, workers and states will be negatively impacted by this litigation and adverse ruling. If the Trump administration and Texas get their way, they would put at risk important advancements in health care 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;  
  • Improved payment reforms and increased access to Medicare for seniors and people with disabilities;  
  • Nearly $1.3 trillion in federal funding being dedicated to keeping Americans healthy and covered, including Medicaid expansion and public health dollars; and 
  • The expansion of health insurance and services that have been critical in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In defending the ACA, 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, Washington, as well as the Governor of Kentucky.

A copy of the brief is available here.