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On Eve of Oral Arguments in US Supreme Court, AG Nessel Issues Statement in Defense of the Affordable Care Act

LANSING — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today issued a statement on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) ahead of Tuesday’s oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court in the health care repeal case, California v. Texas.

Michigan is one of 20 states and the District of Columbia defending the ACA, including the law’s protections for people with preexisting conditions, public health investments, and Medicaid expansion, among others. In the midst of rising COVID-19 cases and deaths nationwide, the Trump administration and the Texas-led state coalition are risking the health care of millions of Americans and financial support for states.

“For a decade, the Affordable Care Act has been a cornerstone of our health care system, providing millions of people with coverage and access to comprehensive treatments and protections, including those for mental health, maternity and more,” Nessel said. “Allowing these benefits to be taken away from the families who need them most, especially amid this ongoing pandemic, would be a terrible misstep for our country. That’s why my colleagues and I will be defending the ACA in front of the United States Supreme Court -- to protect the health and lives of millions of Americans.”

The U.S. Supreme 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 – including 17 million children – with pre-existing conditions, and allow health insurance companies to deny individuals care or charge more based on their health status.

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

  • Protections for more than 4.1 million Michiganders with pre-existing conditions might end;  
  • 720,000 Michiganders could lose their coverage, causing a 115 percent 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  • Medicaid expansion would be repealed, meaning the 688,300 Michiganders who are covered through Medicaid expansion may lose coverage;  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 were previously charged 50 percent more than men by insurance companies, may disappear;  
  • Key support for rural hospitals could vanish, leaving Michigan hospitals on the hook for $1.9 billion more in uncompensated care costs;  
  • Over 4.5 million Michiganders could once again have to pay for preventive care, like mammograms and flu shots; and  
  • Insurers will no longer have to cover a set of essential health benefits, including hospitalization, prescription drugs or mental health services. 

Background: In 2018, a Texas-led coalition, supported by the Trump administration filed Texas v. U.S., arguing that Congress rendered the ACA’s individual mandate unconstitutional when it reduced the penalty to $0 and that the rest of the ACA should be held invalid as a result of that change. The California-led coalition defended 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. In January, Attorney General Nessel joined in filing a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of the Fifth Circuit’s decision. The Supreme Court granted review of California v. Texas in March.

In defense of the ACA, Attorney General Nessel joins the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, 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, and the District of Columbia, as well as the Governor of Kentucky.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments remotely at 10 a.m. Tuesday.