- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for AG Healey Sues to Fight the Trump Administration’s Sabotage of the Affordable Care Act
Boston — Today, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey filed a lawsuit to stop the Trump Administration from ending cost-sharing reduction payments required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – an immediate effort to protect millions of Americans, including tens of thousands of Massachusetts residents, from facing significant increases in health care premiums and major out-of-pocket costs.
AG Healey filed the lawsuit with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in the Northern District of California, along with attorneys general from Kentucky, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Oregon, North Carolina, Illinois, New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Minnesota, New Mexico, Iowa, Washington and the District of Columbia.
“After his failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Trump is trying nothing less than sabotage to throw millions of Americans off of health care and destabilize access to insurance,” AG Healey said. “In Massachusetts, we believe that everyone should get the care they need, when they need it. I’m glad to be joining my colleagues across the country to defend the law and fight for access to health care.”
The ACA’s mandatory cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments to health insurance companies help working families access more affordable healthcare coverage by helping individuals who purchase health care on the exchange to enroll in plans with lower deductibles, copayments or coinsurance responsibility.
According to the complaint, without the CSR payments required to be paid by the Departments of Health and Human Services and the Treasury, insurers and state regulators lack the stability necessary to maintain functional health insurance markets. Refusing to make the required payments directly undermines the ACA’s goals of making health care more affordable and accessible.
“The loss of funds and financial uncertainty caused by their actions will lead to higher health insurance costs for consumers and to insurers abandoning the individual health insurance market. The number of uninsured Americans will increase once again, hurting vulnerable individuals and directly burdening the States,” the complaint states.
The abrupt decision to stop making CSR payments means that insurers will be required to cover the costs, but will not be reimbursed. In response, insurers will raise premiums due to the lack of funding, forcing more people to forgo health insurance, and increasing the number of uninsured. According to the complaint, as many as 6.7 million residents will have to pay for these increased premiums out of their own pocket, and many of those individuals will be unable to afford that additional cost.
Today’s complaint seeks a court order to require the Trump administration to make CSR payments on a monthly basis in accordance with the ACA.
Statements of support
Lora Pellegrini, President of the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans:
“By choosing to stop these payments, the President has broken the promise to these individuals that they would have access to high-quality, affordable health care and threatens the stability of the health care system. The actions by Attorney General Healey are critical to safeguard the coverage for our state’s residents until Congress does what is necessary and provides the funding to continue the CSR payments. We applaud Attorney General Healey for taking this action and for the continued commitment by her, Governor Baker and our entire Congressional delegation to protect the thousands of low-income Massachusetts residents who will be hurt by the President’s decision.”
Lynn Nicholas, President & CEO, Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association:
“The Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association (MHA) and our member institutions and care providers strongly support and applaud Attorney General Healey’s legal challenge to the Trump Administration’s attempt to discontinue federal cost-sharing reduction payments for health insurance. Ending the cost-sharing payments would be particularly disruptive to the Massachusetts healthcare system. The Commonwealth has been structuring the upcoming 2018 open enrollment offerings – now just weeks away – based on some $146 million in previously agreed-to federal support. The declaration that federal subsidies will cease ‘immediately’ means millions of low-income Americans, including some 80,000 Massachusetts residents, could find themselves unable to afford their health insurance practically overnight. This action will destabilize insurance markets, jeopardize coverage, and likely force an increase in the cost of insurance for everyone. In raising a challenge to this misguided effort by President Trump, Attorney General Healey is taking an important step on behalf of Massachusetts residents. MHA stands proudly with AG Healey and her colleague attorneys general in California, Connecticut, Kentucky and elsewhere in the U.S. in their upstanding effort to protect access to high quality affordable healthcare in our commonwealth and across the country.”
Amy Rosenthal, Executive Director of Health Care For All:
“Consumers here in Massachusetts – and across the country -- have significantly benefitted from the cost-sharing reductions that President Trump has thoughtlessly revoked. This harmful decision will hurt individuals by making health care more expensive and forcing consumers to make impossible choices between paying for their health care coverage and their rent, food and other essentials. We are deeply appreciative for Attorney General Healey’s leadership and willingness to challenge this reckless decision.”
Audrey Shelto, President of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation:
“We are very concerned that this action will make healthcare unaffordable and therefore inaccessible for approximately 80,000 of our more vulnerable state residents.”
Rick Lord, President and Chief Executive Officer of Associated Industries of Massachusetts:
“AIM has serious concerns about dismantling the ACA in a piecemeal fashion. We must preserve a stable and well-functioning market, that is cost competitive and is a comprehensive solution that ensures continued coverage for states like Massachusetts who have made great progress in insuring our citizens.”
Mim Minichiello, President of Employee Benefits, New England for HUB International:
“We are very concerned about the stability of health insurance markets for Massachusetts and our clients, including the cost increasing effects we’re already seeing from the instability surrounding these payments.”