June 25, 2018

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Dem Govs to Sessions: ‘Protect Our Constituents With Pre-existing Conditions’

In Letter, Nine Governors Demand Sessions Defend ACA in Court

In case you missed it, last week nine Democratic governors sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions demanding that the Department of Justice defend the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. In an effort to undermine the law, the DOJ recently announced that it would not defend the ACA in Texas v. United States. Their decision specifically imperils the most popular provision in the ACA: the guarantee of coverage for pre-existing conditions. The decision puts millions of Americans at risk of losing their coverage or having their rates jacked up to unsustainable rates.

“As governors committed to protecting healthcare access and equity for our citizens, we are gravely concerned by the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) refusal to defend the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) guarantee of health coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions,”the governors wrote. “The unconscionable decision to abandon defending key elements of the law upends long-held, bipartisan tradition, injects unnecessary uncertainty into our states’ insurance markets, and puts the health of tens of millions of Americans with preexisting conditions — including as many as 17 million children — at risk.” 

The letter was signed by the following governors: Gov. Kate Brown (OR); Democratic Governors Association Chair Gov. Jay Inslee (WA); Gov. Steve Bullock (MT); Gov. Roy Cooper (NC);  Gov. Mark Dayton (MN); Gov. John Hickenlooper (CO); Gov. Dan Malloy (CT); Gov. Ralph Northam (VA); and Gov. Tom Wolf (PA).

The full letter can be viewed HERE and seen below.

Dear Attorney General Sessions:

As governors committed to protecting healthcare access and equity for our citizens, we are gravely concerned by the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) refusal to defend the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) guarantee of health coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions. The unconscionable decision to abandon defending key elements of the law upends long-held, bipartisan tradition, injects unnecessary uncertainty into our states’ insurance markets, and puts the health of tens of millions of Americans with preexisting conditions — including as many as 17 million children — at risk. This decision by the DOJ also reverses President Trump’s repeated promise that he would protect people with preexisting conditions and is yet another example of this Administration’s callous attempts to sabotage the healthcare that our constituents depend on. We strongly urge you to reconsider your decision in Texas v. United States and stand up to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions.

All families deserve access to affordable, comprehensive health coverage. That’s why the American public has overwhelmingly rejected efforts in Congress to return to a time when people would face higher rates, limited benefits, or denials of coverage simply for having widespread health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, pregnancy, asthma, or cancer. It is no surprise that a wide swath of key healthcare stakeholder groups representing patients, providers, and insurers have issued statements and filed amicus briefs opposing your agency’s decision in this matter and re-affirming the importance of federal protections for pre-existing conditions. When such varied interests speak with one voice, we believe it’s wise to listen.

We are dedicated to expanding access to affordable care for the citizens of our states, and we will not remain silent as this Administration threatens to rip away healthcare from those who need it most. As state leaders, it is our duty to stand up and take action when federal policy threatens the health and pocketbooks of our constituents. We will take every available measure to stop this dangerous action and to protect our constituents with pre-existing conditions from losing their health coverage. Silence is not an option. 

We proudly stand with the 17 state Attorneys General who are filling the void of DOJ’s leadership on this issue and fighting to ensure these critical protections remain intact. For the millions of families in our states whose lives and health are on the line, we strongly urge your Department to do the same.

Sincerely,

Gov. Kate Brown (OR)
Gov. Jay Inslee (WA)
Gov. Steve Bullock (MT)
Gov. Roy Cooper (NC)
Gov. Mark Dayton (MN)
Gov. John Hickenlooper (CO)
Gov. Dan Malloy (CT)
Gov. Ralph Northam (VA)
Gov. Tom Wolf (PA)