AG Becerra, joined by 16 AGs, moves to defend the ACA against federal lawsuit filed in Texas

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, joined by 16 attorneys general, filed a motion to intervene in Texas et al. v. United States et al., a lawsuit filed in federal district court in Texas which seeks to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Texas lawsuit imperils health care coverage and funding for all Americans, particularly more vulnerable groups like seniors, children, and people with chronic medical conditions or disabilities. Leading the coalition, Attorney General Becerra seeks to enter the lawsuit to vigorously defend the ACA and the millions of families across the country who rely on it for affordable care.

“The Texas lawsuit is based on a dubious legal claim with the sole goal of stripping Americans of their healthcare,” said Attorney General Becerra. “In California, millions of people receive quality, affordable healthcare under the ACA, many for the first time. In addition, the proponents of the Texas lawsuit want to eliminate the preventive care and prescription drug benefits for working families, seniors and people with disabilities. To roll back the clock and risk the health of millions of Americans is irresponsible and dangerous. We can’t and we won’t go back.”

The Texas lawsuit petitioned the federal court to stop Medicaid expansion; end tax credits that help people afford insurance; allow insurance companies to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions; take away seniors’ prescription drug discounts; strip funding from our nation’s public health system, including work to combat the opioid epidemic; and much more. If the ACA were terminated, the state of California would stand to lose $160.2 billion in healthcare for its people. In total, Americans living in the states seeking to intervene could lose half a trillion dollars in healthcare funding if this lawsuit succeeded.

Texas filed the lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division on February 28, 2018 and was joined by 19 other states. Texas alleges that the ACA is no longer constitutional due to the passage of the Republican tax break bill, passed in December 2017, which zeroed out the penalty payment due under the ACA’s individual mandate for those who could afford to pay for their health insurance but failed to do so.

In the motion to intervene, Attorney General Becerra alleges that the ACA has not been repealed by the passage of the Republican tax break bill, and its constitutionality has been upheld by the Supreme Court:

  • The ACA has survived nearly 70 unsuccessful repeal attempts in Congress since it was passed in 2010.
  • In National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius (2012), the Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate is constitutional.
  • The state of California and every state in the United States would suffer grave harm if the plaintiffs achieved the goals of their lawsuit.

Joining Attorney General Becerra in filing today’s motion are the Attorneys General of: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

Attorney General Becerra is committed to protecting Californians’ access to affordable healthcare. Late last year, California successfully defended affordable health coverage and stopped the Trump Administration from rolling back rules that aimed to deny women birth control. Attorney General Becerra recently announced the formation of a Healthcare Strike Force within the California Department of Justice to monitor and defend against efforts to undermine the ACA, Medicare and Medicaid, and access to quality, affordable healthcare for all Californians.