June 8, 2018
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Late yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice declared it will no longer defend critical provisions of the Affordable Care Act against some states’ legal challenges to its constitutionality. The Trump administration agreed with the conservative states that the mandate is unconstitutional as are two key provisions: prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and charging them higher premiums.
Washington is one of 17 states that has been granted permission to defend the Affordable Care Act in this case. Below is Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s statement in response to the administration’s action:
”The decision by the Trump administration to shirk its responsibility and abandon its defense of the more than 52 million people with pre-existing conditions is appalling and reprehensible. Preventing insurers from denying people insurance because of a pre-existing condition is the most popular reform under the Affordable Care Act. The administration’s action is a body blow to the millions of individuals and families with serious medical conditions who have had access to meaningful health insurance – many for the first time.
“The Trump administration and the Republican-led Congress failed to repeal and replace the ACA, and now they’re attempting to undermine the right of working families to have health insurance and the peace of mind it brings. The timing of this action -- right when health insurers are filing their plans and setting rates for next year -- will only further destabilize our already fragile individual health insurance markets. States are doing what they can to hold these markets together for the consumers who depend on them, but yesterday’s action by the administration calls into question whether it genuinely cares more about winning a political argument than protecting the people it’s called to protect.
“I’m grateful that our state’s Attorney General is joining with 16 other states to defend the Affordable Care Act and its most critical consumer protections. If the administration prevails and we lose these protections, the progress we have made guaranteeing everyone access to meaningful health insurance will vanish. Millions of people who have a pre-existing condition today or who develop one in the future will struggle to get the health insurance they critically need. The number of people without health insurance will soar and everyone will pay the price, one way or another. If the challenge prevails, our country will take a giant step backward.”