Attorney General Ford Seeks Supreme Court Review in Affordable Care Act Case

January 3, 2020

Carson City, NV – Today, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford and a coalition of 20 states filed a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of the Fifth Circuit’s recent decision in Texas v. U.S. The decision held the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) 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. Because this decision causes uncertainty that may harm the health of millions of Americans, as well as doctors, clinics, patients and the healthcare market, AG Ford is petitioning the Supreme Court to take up the case and resolve it before the end of the Court’s current term in June.

“With the future of the Affordable Care Act in jeopardy, the health care of hundreds of thousands of Nevadans hangs in the balance,” said AG Ford. “There may be long-term effects for 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions, as well as seniors dependent on Medicare and children under the age of 26. My office will be using its legal tools to defend Nevadans’ right to affordable and accessible healthcare.”

The lawsuit was originally filed by a Texas-led coalition and supported by the Trump Administration, which argued that Congress rendered the ACA’s individual mandate unconstitutional when it reduced the penalty to $0. They further argued that the rest of the ACA should be held invalid as a result of that change. Today’s coalition of states defended the ACA in its entirety, supported by a bipartisan group of scholars, economists, public health experts, hospital and provider associations, patient groups, counties, cities and more. 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.

Today’s filing makes clear that patients, doctors, hospitals, employers, states, pharmaceutical companies and more will be impacted by the looming uncertainty of the Fifth Circuit’s decision. It asks the Supreme Court to review the case this term, and highlights important advancements in healthcare access made under the ACA, including:

  • More than 12 million Americans receiving coverage through Medicaid expansion;
  • Nearly 9 million individuals nationwide receiving tax credits to help afford health insurance coverage through individual marketplaces;  
  • Millions of working families relying on high-quality employer-sponsored insurance plans;   
  • Important protections prohibiting insurers from denying health insurance to the 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions (like diabetes, cancer or pregnancy) or from charging individuals higher premiums because of their health status; and
  • Nearly $1.3 trillion in federal funding being dedicated to keeping Americans healthy and covered, including Medicaid expansion and public health dollars.  

Joining AG Ford in today’s filing are 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.

A copy of the petition is attached