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AG Mark Herring Continues to Defend Virginians’ Healthcare, Affordable Care Act

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From Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who continues to do a superb job…and, needless to say, richly deserves reelection if he decides he wants another term as AG…

ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING CONTINUES TO DEFEND VIRGINIANS’ HEALTHCARE, AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

~ On the tenth anniversary of the passage of the ACA, Herring continues his fight to protect accessible, affordable healthcare and Virginians with preexisting conditions from ongoing Republican attacks ~

RICHMOND (March 23, 2020) – On the tenth anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Attorney General Mark R. Herring is continuing his fight to protect accessible, affordable healthcare and Virginians with preexisting conditions. Attorney General Herring has successfully defended the ACA in court from Republican attacks numerous time, including defending Virginians’ access to healthcare affordability tax credits and stepping in to defend Virginians’ healthcare following the Trump Administration’s complete abandonment of defense of the ACA in Texas v. U.S., now California v. Texas.

“The tenth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act comes at a time when it is abundantly clear just how critical a strong, affordable healthcare system is in America,” said Attorney General Herring. “For years, Republicans have played political games with the lives of millions of Virginians, especially those with preexisting conditions, forcing them to live in constant fear that their healthcare could be ripped away from them at any moment. We find ourselves in the middle of a public health crisis and any disruption to our healthcare system now would be absolutely catastrophic. Throughout my time as attorney general, I have taken every opportunity to protect Virginians’ access to affordable healthcare and I plan to continue that fight.”

If the Trump Administration is successful with this most recent attack on the ACA:

  • 642,000 Virginians could lose their health coverage, leading to a 96% increase in the uninsured rate in the Commonwealth
  • The 3,441,400 Virginians who have pre-existing conditions would lose their protections and insurance companies would be able to deny or drop coverage and charge more for those pre-existing conditions
  • 289,081 Virginians in the marketplace would have to pay more for their coverage
  • 109,517 Virginia seniors could have to pay more for their prescription drugs
  • Insurance companies would be allowed to discriminate against women by charging them higher premiums
  • $1.15 billion in tax credits that helped 335,000 Virginians afford insurance in 2017 would be ended
  • Funding from our nation’s public health system would be stripped, including work to combat the opioid epidemic
  • Billions in federal aid for health care would be stripped, including $458 million in FY 2019 and $1.9 billion in FY 2020

Attorney General Herring vowed to continue fighting for Virginians’ healthcare following the announcement earlier this month that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the Trump-backed lawsuit that would functionally kill the ACA. In January, Attorney General Herring joined a coalition of 21 attorneys general in filing a petition to the Supreme Court seeking review of the Fifth Circuit’s decision in Texas v. U.S. The Fifth Circuit’s decision held the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act 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.

In order to protect Virginians’ healthcare, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues stepped in to defend the Affordable Care Act in this lawsuit after President Trump and the U.S. Department of Justice abandoned all defense of the ACA in court and joined with Republican state attorneys general in trying to strike down the law. When a district court judge in Texas issued a decision in December 2018 finding the ACA to be unconstitutional, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues immediately appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. In their appeal, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues argued that

Previously, in January 2015, Attorney General Herring led a coalition of 23 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief defending the sustainability of America’s healthcare system and the right of millions of low- and moderate-income Americans, including hundreds of thousands of Virginians, to premium-assistance tax credits when they purchase health insurance on a federally-facilitated exchange.

In July 2014, Attorney General Herring helped successfully defend Virginians’ access to healthcare affordability tax credits when the Fourth Circuit ruled unanimously in King v. Burwell that customers of a federally-facilitated exchange were eligible for financial assistance. In that case, Virginia filed an amicus brief and delivered oral argument defending Virginians’ access to financial assistance.

Attorney General Herring also led a multi-state brief in a nearly identical case, Halbig v. Burwell that was before the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia before being stayed following the Supreme Court’s grant of certiorari in King.