(STL.News) – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced that a diverse group of bipartisan attorneys general, economists, patient groups, hospitals, healthcare providers, insurance companies, cities, counties, tribes, and more filed amicus briefs in the Supreme Court supporting California’s defense of the healthcare system and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The amici coalition also includes new partners in the attorneys general of Maryland, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
“As we confront a global pandemic of historic proportions, a bipartisan coalition of leaders, from bipartisan attorneys general to public health experts, stand with us before the Supreme Court in agreement: protecting the Affordable Care Act is critical to protecting the health of our nation and countless loved ones,” said Attorney General Becerra. “While the Trump Administration continues its attempt to destroy the ACA, state attorneys general, legal experts, economists, medical groups, and more know better: our nation’s hallmark healthcare law is lawful and we must do everything we can to protect it, for the sake of saving lives.”
The Supreme Court agreed to review a recent 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, subsidies that help working families access care, and healthcare coverage protections for 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. The amici support California’s fight to protect America’s healthcare system and the well-being of Americans across the nation.
These amicus briefs support California’s defense of the ACA and highlight the importance of safeguarding our public health system – especially given the current COVID-19 pandemic. The briefs highlight not only the critical public health gains made under the ACA, but also crucial ways that the ACA aids the nation in its COVID-19 response, including:
- The ACA’s pre-existing condition protections keep the millions of Americans who have or may become infected by COVID-19 from being denied coverage based on COVID-19 exposure, or from having their benefits limited to exclude coverage for the ongoing health consequences caused by COVID-19;
- The ACA’s Prevention and Public Health Fund provides more than 12 percent of the program funding for the Centers for Disease
- Control and Prevention, the agency at the forefront of the government’s efforts to contain the pandemic;
- The ACA’s multi-billion-dollar Community Health Center Fund, extended by the recent Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, provides as much as 70 percent of all grant funding for community health centers, which are on the front lines of the COVID-19 response;
- The ACA’s non-discrimination requirements ensure that access to medical resources may not be denied to COVID-19 patients because a patient is disabled;
- The ACA’s investment in health care innovation, including telehealth, has paid great dividends during the pandemic by allowing providers and patients to adapt as communities shelter in place;
- The ACA’s expanded Medicaid program and Special Enrollment Periods provide a backstop for workers who lose their jobs and health insurance coverage; and
- In Medicaid expansion states, the ACA will provide financial assistance to anywhere from 66 to 75 percent of laid-off workers in the industries most vulnerable to pandemic-related unemployment.