Attorney General Ford, 20 States Defend the Affordable Care Act in U.S. Supreme Court

May 6, 2020

Carson City, NV– Today, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court defending the Affordable Care Act (ACA) against efforts by the Trump Administration and the State of Texas to repeal the entire ACA, putting the healthcare of tens of millions of Americans at risk. The Court agreed to review a recent Fifth Circuit decision that held the ACA's individual mandate unconstitutional and called into question whether the remaining provisions of the law could still stand. The decision would jeopardize Medicaid expansion, critical public health programs that help fight COVID-19, and subsidies that help working families’ access care, among countless others. AG Ford is joined by 20 states in this action. 

"Hundreds of thousands of Nevada families are depending on the Affordable Care Act for access to quality and affordable healthcare, especially during this pandemic," said AG Ford. “1,258,000 Nevadans have a pre-existing condition, including 163,100 Nevada children, 620,000 Nevada women, and 285,900 Nevadans. My office will continue defending Nevadans’ right to healthcare.”  

The lawsuit, initially filed by a Texas-led coalition and later supported by the Trump Administration, argued that Congress rendered the ACA’s individual mandate unconstitutional when it reduced the penalty for forgoing coverage to $0. They further argued that the rest of the ACA should be held invalid as a result of that change. The coalition of attorneys general defended the ACA in its entirety, supported by a bipartisan group of amici including scholars, economists, public health experts, hospital and provider associations, patient groups, counties, cities, and more. While the Fifth Circuit held that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, it sidestepped on the validity of the ACA’s remaining provisions. 

In their brief, the attorneys general make clear that patients, doctors, hospitals, employers, workers, states, pharmaceutical companies and more will be negatively impacted if the ACA should fall. The brief also highlights important advancements in healthcare access made under the ACA. In Nevada, the healthcare of hundreds of thousands of Nevadans are at risk:

  • 211,700 Nevadans are enrolled through Medicaid expansion; 
  • 636,208 Nevadans with traditional Medicaid coverage, including seniors, people with disabilities, and children, are at risk; and
  • 303,343 Nevada children’s care is at risk.

If the Affordable Care Act is repealed:

  • 282,000 Nevadans could lose coverage. According to the Urban Institute, 282,000 Nevadans would lose coverage by repealing the Affordable Care Act, leading to a 75 percent increase in the uninsured rate;
  • 19,000 Nevada young adults with their parents’ coverage could lose care. Because of the Affordable Care Act, millions of young adults are able to stay on their parents’ care until age 26;
  • 74,000 Nevada children could lose their coverage. Almost three million children nationwide gained coverage thanks to the ACA. If the law is overturned, many of these children will lose their insurance;
  • 95,900 Nevada Latinos could lose coverage. The percentage of people gaining health insurance under the ACA was higher for Latinos than for any other racial or ethnic group in the country. According to a study from Families USA, 5.4 million Latinos nationwide would lose coverage if the lawsuit succeeds in overturning the ACA; and
  • Nevadans would lose important federal health care funding. An estimated reduction of $1.2 billion in the first year. The Urban Institute estimates that a full repeal of the ACA would reduce federal spending on Nevadans’ Medicaid/CHIP care and Marketplace subsidies by $1.2 billion.

In addition to Nevada, other states participating in this brief include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota (by and through its Department of Commerce), Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the Governor of Kentucky.