State Attorneys General Announce Lawsuit Against Trump’s O’care Blow

Andrew Harnik/AP
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Democratic attorneys general from a handful of states announced Friday their plans to file a lawsuit against President Trump’s efforts to end Obamacare subsidies to insurers.

“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that those payments can continue to go forward,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) said in a conference call the attorneys general held with reporters. 

Becerra was joined on the call by Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear (D), Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy (D) and Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen (D). Becerra said more attorneys general were likely to join the lawsuit.

They plan to file the lawsuit Friday in federal court in California. They will be seeking a declaratory judgment as well as a temporary restraining order to force the Trump administration to make the next payment — due Oct. 18 — and the payments going forward. They said Trump, in stopping the payments, was violating the Affordable Care Act. They also argued that Trump had violated the Administrative Procedure Act.

Becerra has already successfully intervened in the 2014 House GOP lawsuit against the subsidies, but it was unclear the next moves in that case.

The attorneys general are poised to file suit after the White House announced Thursday night it will stop making the payments to insurers, which subsidize them for keeping out-of-pocket costs down for low income individuals. Friday morning, the Trump administration filed legal documents in the 2014 case cementing that position.

Trump’s move is part of his stated goals of causing chaos in the Obamacare marketplaces, now that Congress’ ACA repeal efforts have failed. In some states, including California, insurers were able to submit premiums for the 2018 that reflected the scenario that the payments were terminated. In other states, insurers did not file premiums that took into account the possibility of the payments ending, and it’s possible the insurers might just try to leave the marketplaces altogether in those places.

House Republicans sued the Obama administration over the payments claiming that they were illegal because Congress did not appropriate with them. A federal judge sided with the Republicans, but allowed the payments to continue while Obama’s DOJ appealed the case.

Update: The lawsuit the attorneys general are bringing has been filed in the U.S. District Court of California for the Northern District. It alleges that Trump is in violation of the Affordable Care Act, Administrative Procedure Act and the Constitution’s Take Care clause. Nineteen states are on the lawsuit. Read the lawsuit below:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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