BALTIMORE, MD—Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh this week filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, supporting a coalition of states defending the Affordable Care Act against efforts by the Trump administration and a group of states led by Texas to repeal the entire ACA.
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.
“In the midst of a global pandemic, when Americans need it the most, the Trump administration continues its attempt to strip millions of American of their healthcare coverage,” said Attorney General Frosh. “Hundreds of thousands of Marylanders would not have any coverage without the ACA. And nearly 3 million Marylanders with preexisting conditions who would have previously been denied coverage, now have guaranteed healthcare protections. We will continue our fight to defend the ACA and to protect the health and lives of our people who depend upon it.”
Before passage of the ACA, almost 50,000,000 Americans lacked health insurance, according to the coalition. In Maryland, more than 100,000 residents have obtained private health coverage, more than 1,000,000 are now covered by Medicaid, and this year the State’s uninsured rate fell to six percent, the lowest ever. If the ACA were invalidated, the coalition argues that the resulting chaos would harm the health care markets, state government budgets, and the health of residents in every state. They added that many residents have benefitted from the ACA’s 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 include more than 12 million Americans; and,
- making the individual insurance market accessible and affordable by providing refundable tax credits.
As the nation’s 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.
Maryland used its authority as a state-based exchange to open a special enrollment period in response to the coronavirus in March, as have 10 other states and the District of Columbia. By April 17, 2020, over 21,500 Marylanders had obtained health coverage during the special enrollment period.
In addition to Maryland, the brief was also joined by the attorneys general of Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.