Justice Department Move to Support Texas in Lawsuit Designed to Dismantle Consumer Health Care Protections is Unprecedented Dereliction of Duty
Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray, D-Wash., today condemned the Trump Justice Department for their decision not to defend federal law in a court case filed by Texas to overturn key pieces of the Affordable Care Act.
“In an unprecedented move, Trump and his Justice Department are abandoning their duty to protect the law of the land and families’ health care just to satisfy their special interest donors.” Wyden said. “The Trump Administration is endorsing the view that insurance companies should be able to deny care, charge more, and discriminate against the 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions – everything from cancer to asthma. Americans have a right to expect that health care is no longer reserved for the healthy and wealthy, but Trump and his Republican allies appear to believe otherwise. After their multiple failed attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, this is the ultimate act of sabotage.”
“By trying to return to the days when insurers could deny people with pre-existing protections coverage, and could charge people more just because of their gender, President Trump and Vice President Pence are once again proving there is no limit to how low and baseless they’ll go to appeal to extreme Republican donors and special interests,” said Murray. “People across the country have been abundantly clear that they do not want to see health care in our country go any further in the wrong direction as a result of this Administration’s relentless sabotage and Democrats will stand with patients and families in fighting back.”
On February 28, 2018, the Texas Attorney General and 19 other conservative state Attorneys General filed a lawsuit seeking to strike down the entirety of the Affordable Care Act and all of its associated regulations. Instead of ensuring that federal law is faithfully executed, Trump and his Justice Department are effectively arguing that the repeal of the individual mandate in the Republican tax law converted a provision upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012 into one that is unconstitutional. This absurd and dangerous claim is being used as the justification to eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s key protections for people with pre-existing conditions. It would also throw out core parts of the law like tax credits, Medicaid expansion, allowing people to stay on their parent’s insurance until age 26, limits on out-of-pocket expenses, and more.