As Oral Arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court Begin, Attorney General Ford Issues Statement in Defense of the Affordable Care Act

November 10, 2020

Coalition of 20 states and D.C. defend the ACA in U.S. Supreme Court on November 10, 2020

  Carson City, NV – Today, Attorney General Aaron D. Ford issued a statement on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) ahead of today’s oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court in the health care repeal case, California v. Texas. AG Ford joined a coalition of 20 states and the District of Columbia in defense of the ACA including the law’s protections for people with preexisting conditions, public health investments, and Medicaid expansion, among others. In the midst of rising COVID-19 cases and deaths nationwide, the Trump Administration and the Texas-led state coalition are risking the health care of millions of Americans and financial support for states like Nevada.  

“As the Coronavirus death toll rises, we should be laser focused on protecting health care, not going back to the days of caps on care and excluding people with pre-existing conditions,” said AG Ford. “Now, more than ever, hundreds of thousands of Nevada families are depending on the Affordable Care Act for access to quality and affordable health care. Over a million Nevadans with a pre-existing condition are now at risk. Hundreds of thousands of Nevadans who receive health care through expanded Medicaid coverage are now at risk. My office will continue to defend Nevadans’ right to health care. Our lives depend on it.”

Every American could be affected if the ACA is destroyed. In particular, the following is at stake:

  • Health care for the 20 million Americans who are able to afford insurance either through Medicaid expansion or thanks to tax credits and employer-sponsored plans through health care exchanges, and  the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange;
  • Guaranteed coverage for  1,258,000 Nevadans who have a pre-existing condition, including 163,100 Nevada children and 620,000 Nevada women, and the law’s protection against discrimination and higher costs based on health status;
  • Health care for hundreds of thousands of Nevadans covered through Medicaid, including 211,700 Nevadans enrolled through Medicaid expansion and 636,208 Nevadan seniors, people with disabilities, and children enrolled in traditional Medicaid coverage;
  • Coverage for rural Nevadans, such as the 21 percent of Nevadans who receive health care through Medicaid;
  • Health care for young adults under the age of 26 covered by a parent’s plan, including 19,000 Nevadans;
  • Families of children with chronic health conditions who are currently protected from lifetime insurance limits;
  • An estimated reduction of $1.2 billion in federal spending for Nevadans’ Medicaid/CHIP care and Marketplace subsidies in the first year;
  • Rising costs of uncompensated care -- between 2013 and 2015, Nevada hospitals’ uncompensated care costs decreased by $138 million, or roughly 49%; and
  • Funding for our public health system, including investments in local and state public health systems that help during the pandemic, FDA biosimilars which power drug costs, and more including Medicare payment reforms, Indian Health Services, and work to fight the opioid epidemic.

Background: In 2018, a Texas-led coalition, supported by the Trump Administration filed Texas v. U.S., arguing that Congress rendered the ACA’s individual mandate unconstitutional when it reduced the penalty to $0 and that the rest of the ACA should be held invalid as a result of that change. A separate coalition defended the ACA in its entirety. The Fifth Circuit held that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, but declined to further rule on the validity of the ACA’s remaining provisions. The court instead sent the case back to the Northern District of Texas to determine which provisions of the 900-page law are still valid. In January, Attorney General Ford joined the coalition in filing a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of the Fifth Circuit’s decision. The Supreme Court granted review of California v. Texas in March.

In addition to Nevada, the coalition includes the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota (by and through its Department of Commerce), New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia, as well as the Governor of Kentucky.