State of Minnesota joins coalition asking for Supreme Court review of ACA decision
State and coalition ask for expedited review and resolution this term
January 3, 2020 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison today announced that the State of Minnesota has joined a coalition of 19 states, the District of Columbia, and the governor of Kentucky in filing a petition that asks the U.S. Supreme Court to review the recent decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Texas v. U.S. That split 2-1 decision held that the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is 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 the uncertainty of the Fifth Circuit’s decision may harm the health of millions of Americans, as well as hurt doctors, clinics, patients, and the healthcare market, Minnesota and the coalition are petitioning the Supreme Court to take up and resolve the case before the end of the Court’s current term in June.
“Affordable, high-quality health care is a human right. It’s essential to being able to afford your life and live with dignity and respect,” Attorney General Ellison said. “Asking the Supreme Court to review the Fifth Circuit’s illogical and chaotic decision as quickly as possible is part of doing everything in my power to defend that human right.”
The Texas v. U.S. lawsuit was originally filed by a Texas-led coalition of states, supported by the Trump Administration, which argued that Congress rendered the ACA’s individual mandate unconstitutional when it reduced the penalty for not securing healthcare coverage to $0. They further argued that the rest of the ACA should be held invalid as a result of that change. The coalition that the State of Minnesota has been a part of since the beginning 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. 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.
Congress has voted more than 70 times to repeal the ACA without offering any plan to replace it.
Under the Affordable Care Act, Minnesota’s rate of uninsured people fell from 9 percent in 2009 to 6.3 percent in 2017. This represents more than 250,000 people. The potential impacts on Minnesotans of striking down the ACA in its entirety are dire:
- More than 2,300,000 Minnesotans with a pre-existing condition are at risk of being charged unaffordable premiums or being denied coverage altogether.
- More than 2,700,000 Minnesotans, including more than 1,000,000 women ages 15–64, would lose the federal guarantee of preventive services — such as flu shots, cancer screenings, and contraception — which are now provided at no extra cost to consumers.
- Approximately 212,000 Minnesotans who are enrolled in the Medicaid-expansion population would be at risk of losing their coverage. The ACA provided the authority for Medicaid to cover adults without minor children who are not disabled whose income is less than 133 percent of the poverty level, which means that private insurance is out of range. Prior to the ACA, these individuals received some coverage through various state-funded programs.
- Approximately 82,000 Minnesotans who are enrolled in the Basic Health Program — for people who earn between 133 percent and 200 percent of poverty and do not have employer-provided insurance — would be at risk of losing their coverage.
Joining Attorney General Ellison and the State in today’s filing are California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who led the coalition, and the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, and the District of Columbia, as well as the governor of Kentucky.