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Letter: Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, 100+ Organizations Urge GOP Officials to Drop Case Threatening the Affordable Care Act

 Despite unprecedented health and economic crises, Attorney General William Barr and 18 state officials still want the Supreme Court to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act in California v. Texas.

Given the enormous challenges posed by the novel coronavirus, the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School (CHLPI), Protect Our Care, and a broad coalition of over 100 organizations called on Attorney General William Barr and Republican officials from 18 states to drop their Supreme Court lawsuit imperiling the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in a letter sent Wednesday.

The Supreme Court is set to review the case, California v. Texas, later this year. As part of their challenge to the ACA, the Department of Justice and 18 states are asking the Court to invalidate the entire law. Today’s letter explains why that outcome would only exacerbate the pandemic—and leave millions without access to care in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis that has already killed more than 68,000 Americans.

Eliminating the ACA now would “prove catastrophic,” writes the coalition of major health care advocates, providers, insurers, and worker organizations. “The United States cannot risk destabilizing its already-strained health care sector by eliminating a deeply-entrenched law that offers important public health benefits. Nor can millions of Americans afford to lose access to COVID-19 treatment, vaccines and health care generally.”

“The ACA offers policymakers some of the best public health tools to address this pandemic,” said Robert Greenwald, faculty director of CHLPI and professor of law at Harvard Law School. “Striking down the ACA now would be disastrous. In the interest of safeguarding our nation’s public health and economic future, we strongly urge the challengers to drop their lawsuit.”

The ACA provides health insurance for over 22 million individuals through public marketplaces and expanded Medicaid coverage in 37 states. Even more Americans receive coverage through its provisions protecting those with pre-existing conditions and allowing young adults under the age of 26 to be covered through their parents’ health insurance. With tens of millions losing their jobs, these programs will offer newly-vulnerable Americans avenues to secure health coverage, and as a result access to live-saving medical care that will slow the disease’s spread.

The states challenging the ACA in California v. Texas include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia. 

Among many others, signatories to the letter include: the American Diabetes Association, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the American Public Health Association, the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, AFL-CIO, SEIU, the Alliance for Community Health Plans, the Association for Community Affiliated Plans, the American Geriatrics Society, and the National Employment Law Project.

A PDF version of the letter is here

A PDF version of the press release is here