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Attorneys General File Supreme Court Brief in California, et al v. Texas, et al
May 14, 2020
Amicus Brief Defends ACA; Health Care of Tens of Millions of Americans at Risk
AUGUSTA - Attorney General Aaron M. Frey joined five other attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, supporting a coalition of states defending the Affordable Care Act (ACA) against efforts by the Trump Administration and a group of states led by Texas to repeal the entire act. In California, et al., v. Texas, et al., 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 rest of the ACA should be held invalid.
"Repealing the ACA would cause enormous disruptions to Maines health care system, resulting in deprivation of necessary access to health insurance coverage that thousands of Mainers depend upon," said Frey. The effort to repeal the ACA is particularly irresponsible when viewed in the context of the present public health crisis and economic downturn caused by COVID-19.
Before passage of the ACA, almost 50,000,000 Americans more than 17 percent of the population - lacked health insurance. Health insurance reforms under the ACA have resulted in millions of people accessing coverage for the first time in their lives. In Maine, from 2010 to 2018, the rate of uninsured people dropped from 11 to eight percent. According to a 2018 Urban Institute study, more than 83,000 Mainers would lose their health coverage if the ACA were invalidated. The resulting chaos would harm the health care markets, state government budgets, and the health of residents in every State, all amidst a global pandemic. In the 10 years since the passage of the ACA, the States have experienced dramatic improvements in health care coverage and outcomes. All states and their residents have benefitted from the ACAs improvements, including:
providing important consumer protections prohibiting insurers from denying health insurance to the 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions;
expanding and improving Medicaid to now include more than 12 million Americans;
making the individual insurance market accessible and affordable by providing refundable tax credits; and improving the quality of private insurance coverage.
As the nations economy and health will take years to recover from the impact of COVID-19, the brief also argues that all states, including the respondent states, are relying upon the ACA in their fight against COVID-19, and the increased access to health insurance afforded by the ACA will be crucial as people lose income and employer-sponsored health care, and pre-existing conditions caused by the coronavirus become more prevalent.
In addition to Maryland, the brief was also joined by the attorneys general of Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.