ATG NEWS RELEASE: Attorney General Chin takes action to protect affordable heatlhcare

Posted on May 18, 2017 in Latest News

HONOLULU– Attorney General Doug Chin today took legal action to protect health care access for Hawaii residents. Attorney General Chin moved to intervene in a lawsuit that undercuts the affordability of health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. The motion was led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and joined by Hawaii, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington state and the District of Columbia.

The lawsuit, House v. Price, seeks to eliminate the stable funding that the law created to protect millions of working families from high healthcare costs. Experts predict that just the threat to end this funding could destabilize the healthcare market and increase premiums by as much as 21%. While the U.S. government under President Obama opposed the lawsuit, the new administration and Congressional Republicans who filed the lawsuit have made clear their number one priority is to repeal the ACA and take away affordable healthcare from millions of Americans.

Attorney General Chin said, “Recent congressional efforts to repeal Obamacare would result in stripping healthcare from more than 20 million people, eliminating protections for pre-existing conditions, and increasing costs for the poorest Americans, including those who live in Hawaii. The House v. Price lawsuit is the judicial equivalent of these congressional efforts and that is why I oppose it.”

In President Trump’s own words, the House v. Price lawsuit could “explode” the ACA and leave millions of Americans without affordable healthcare coverage, leaving states to pick up the pieces. The intervention by the aforementioned states seeks to protect health care coverage secured for residents in their states under the ACA.

Department of the Attorney General News Release 2017-52

Background on House v. Price:

The cost-sharing subsidies help working families to access more affordable healthcare coverage by helping individuals with incomes between $11,880 and $29,700 to pay out- of-pocket expenses such as deductibles and co-payments. The Kaiser Family Foundation projects premiums will increase by 19% on average across the country to compensate if there is a loss of the cost-sharing subsidy payments, finding that the premium increases would be higher in states that have not expanded Medicaid (premium increases of 21%).

House Republicans sued the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) during the Obama Administration, challenging the legality of making the cost-sharing subsidies. A district court judge ruled in favor of the House, but the ruling was appealed in order to protect access to healthcare, and the subsidies were permitted to continue pending appeal. After the election, the House asked the court to hold the case in suspension while the newly-elected President Trump had time to make decisions regarding the case. If the court allows the 15 states and the District of Columbia to intervene, the state attorneys general may continue to pursue a judicial resolution of this issue.

A copy of the motion to intervene is attached.

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For more information, contact: Joshua A. Wisch

Special Assistant to the Attorney General Phone: (808) 586-1284

Email: joshua.A.Wisch@hawaii.gov Web: http://ag.hawaii.gov

Twitter: @ATGHIgov