DGA Statement on the Supreme Court’s Decision to Review the Trump Administration’s Harmful Lawsuit Against the ACA

DGA Chair New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy released the following statement on the Supreme Court’s decision to take up the Trump administration’s legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act.

“While President Trump continues his unrelenting attack on Americans’ health care and the Affordable Care Act, Democratic governors from coast to coast are fighting every day to protect Americans’ right to health care. Our governors are taking wide-sweeping action to codify ACA provisions, expand coverage, and lower costs because we know this is a life or death issue that touches every family. Democratic governors have been the strongest line of defense against the harmful Trump agenda, and we will continue to fight for accessible, affordable health care for all Americans.”

In nine states, Democratic governors have signed legislation codifying preexisting condition protections into state law. This is just one example of how Democratic governors are attempting to alleviate the crippling effects of a potential ACA appeal, while nothing has been done on the federal level.

Read more about the work Democratic governors have done to protect and expand access to health care:

CALIFORNIA: California Is Shoring Up Obamacare, Even As Trump Is Sabotaging It

[Huffington Post, 06/11/19]

Under a new budget agreement that Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and his allies in the state legislature reached over the weekend, California in 2020 will begin offering state-funded health insurance to undocumented young adults, reintroduce the “individual mandate” penalty for people who don’t have insurance, and offer more financial assistance to people buying coverage on their own.

COLORADO: Gov. Polis: Substantial drops in individual health insurance rates

[Associated Press, 10/10/19]

Health insurance premiums are dropping substantially for Coloradans buying individual insurance plans on the state exchange next year, Gov. Jared Polis announced Thursday. Polis told a Capitol news conference that the average 2020 price drop for individuals will be more than 20% from current rates. It’s the first drop of any kind since enrollments on the exchange began in 2013. That’s largely because of a new state-run reinsurance program in which the state covers the highest-cost cases, allowing insurers to moderate their rates.

CONNECTICUT: Gov. Lamont signs bill requiring insurers to provide equal coverage for mental health and substance abuse 

[Hartford Courant, 07/08/19]

State legislators and mental health advocates, including former Rhode Island congressman Patrick Kennedy, outnumbered the audience in the state capitol’s Old Judiciary Room when Gov. Ned Lamont signed the state’s Mental Health Parity Act on Monday. […] The new law, which passed both chambers of the legislature unanimously, requires insurance companies to file annual reports with the Connecticut General Assembly showing the data for physical and mental health coverage. The goal is to bring Connecticut into compliance with the federal Mental Health Parity Act of 2008, which requires health insurers to treat mental health conditions and substance abuse disorders the same as physical ailments.

DELAWARE: Carney signs legislation protecting health care for Delawareans

[Dover Post, 08/07/19]

Gov. John Carney joined members of the General Assembly and health care advocates Aug. 7 at Westside Family Healthcare in Wilmington to sign Senate Bill 35 and Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 92, two pieces of legislation that will protect quality health care coverage for Delawareans and Delaware families. Senate Bill 35 codifies consumer protections of the Affordable Care Act in Delaware law — including protections for Delawareans with pre-existing conditions, the guaranteed availability of coverage, and permissible rating factors.

HAWAII: New law preserves Affordable Health Care Act measures for Hawaii residents

[Hawaii News Now, 07/05/18]

Gov. David Ige signed a new law on Thursday that ensures certain benefits under the Affordable Care Act will be preserved under Hawaii law. Senate Bill 2340 retains several of the measures introduced in the Obama-era legislation, also known as Obamacare, including a clause that allows Hawaii adults up to 26 years-old to continue receiving health insurance under their parents. The law also prohibits health insurance organizations from excluding coverage to those with preexisting conditions, or using an individual’s gender to determine premiums or contributions to health insurance plans.

ILLINOIS: Gov. Signs Mammogram Coverage Bill in DeKalb 

[WLBK, 08/27/19]

Surrounded by legislators from the WSPY listening area, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker came to DeKalb on Monday to sign a bill that’s expected to save lives. The law requires insurance companies to cover the cost of mammograms and other screenings to detect breast cancer. Pritzker signed the law on Monday at the Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Health and Wellness Center. While initial breast cancer screenings are covered by insurance, 10% of women have to go for a second, often more costly screening to confirm whether or not they have cancer. This law makes sure the subsequent screenings are also covered.

KANSAS: Kelly, Denning reach deal to expand Medicaid in Kansas. But lawmakers must still vote

[Wichita Eagle, 01/09/20]

The prospect of Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and Senate Republican Leader Jim Denning reaching a grand compromise on Medicaid expansion appeared remote last May, following a legislative session where demonstrators unfurled banners accusing GOP leaders of having “blood on their hands.” But on Thursday, the sometimes-rivals strode into the Capitol rotunda to announce just such a deal before a rapturous pro-expansion crowd. The extraordinary event marked a rare bipartisan agreement that could ultimately expand health coverage to more than 100,000 Kansans.

KENTUCKY: Kentucky Gov. Beshear rescinds Medicaid work requirements

[The Hill, 12/16/19]

Newly elected Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) on Monday formally rescinded the state’s controversial Medicaid work requirements enacted by his Republican predecessor, Matt Bevin. […] Rescinding the requirements fulfills a promise Beshear made during his campaign and during his victory speech. The work requirements were projected to end coverage for 95,000 people, and save the state $300 million over five years. 

LOUISIANA: Louisiana governor signs law on health insurance coverage

[Associated Press, 06/15/19]

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed legislation that could eventually lead to health insurance coverage for some residents if the federal Affordable Care Act is overturned. […] The new law authorizes Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon to study other states’ health care models to find a potential replacement for the individual health exchange under the Affordable Care Act. It would be needed only if the federal health law is overturned.

MAINE: Mills signs LD1, Preserving Key Protections of the ACA in Maine

[Maine Public, 03/19/19]

Gov. Janet Mills Tuesday signed LD1, a measure that codifies into state law consumer protections under the federal Affordable Care Act. Supporters say the goal is to protect Mainers from future efforts to dismantle the ACA. The new law requires that insurance plans cover essential health benefits, such as prescription drugs, emergency services, maternity care, mental health care and substance use treatment. It would allow children to stay on their parents’ insurance plans till age 26. The statute also prohibits insurers from charging substantially higher rates to seniors because of their age, and bars denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

MINNESOTA: Walz, legislative leaders, reach budget accord; local projects added to proposal

[Business North, 05/20/19]

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and House Speaker Melissa Hortman announced a bipartisan state budget agreement that allows for investments in education, health care, and community prosperity, Walz said in a Monday news release. […] “All Minnesotans deserve affordable, accessible health care. I’m pleased our budget compromise preserves funding for our Health Care Access Fund, ensuring Minnesotans – especially people with low incomes or disabilities – can count on the care they need. This shouldn’t be considered a partisan victory, but rather a basic reflection of our values in this state. In regards to access, quality, and cost, we’ll keep working to improve health care for Minnesotans,” said Rep. Jen Schultz (DFL – Duluth), Chair of the House Long-Term Care Division.

MICHIGAN: Exclusive: 44% of Michigan maternal deaths are preventable. Whitmer has a plan for that.

[Michigan Advance, 01/29/20]

Whitmer’s plan aims to improve care women need to have a healthy pregnancy, including mental health; combat medical bias against women of color; increase access to effective birth control; and expand access to evidence-based home visiting programs.

MONTANA: Governor signs Montana’s Medicaid expansion bill

[Associated Press, 05/09/19]

Gov. Steve Bullock signed a bill Thursday to continue Montana’s Medicaid expansion program for another six years, as long as federal funding continues. […] The bill continues the program, which began in 2016, and provides health insurance to about 95,000 low-income adults. […] “These bills continue the progress our state has made in recent years to provide quality and affordable health care to Montanans, and they will further our efforts to increase access, reduce costs, and improve the quality of care,” Bullock said. “By finding common ground and taking much-needed action now, we continue to be an example for other states to follow.”

NEVADA: Gov. Sisolak Signs Bills to Expand Patient Protections in Nevada

[KTVN, 05/15/19]

Governor Steve Sisolak signed two bills Wednesday that will strengthen access to affordable health care for Nevadans. Assembly Bill 170 codifies the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions into Nevada state law, providing Nevadans assurance that they won’t be denied health care based on a pre-existing condition regardless of what happens at the federal level.

NEW JERSEY: N.J. passes laws to preserve ‘Obamacare’ amid court fight

[Associated Press, 01/17/20]

Barring health insurance that excludes coverage for pre-existing conditions and letting children stay on their parents’ plans until 26 would be preserved under a slate of new laws New Jersey enacted this week, even if the Affordable Care Act is struck down in court. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed the nine bills on Thursday. They’re aimed at shoring up key provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act, which is opposed by Republicans in Congress and the White House.

NEW YORK: Cuomo: NY state will keep Affordable Care Act protections

[Associated Press, 06/05/17]

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced that he has directed state regulators to prohibit insurers from discriminating against a customer based on pre-existing conditions, age or gender. The state will also require insurers to cover contraceptive drugs and devices without charging a co-pay or deductible.

NEW MEXICO: Obamacare Protections Copied in New Mexico State Law

[Bloomberg Law, 04/05/19]

Insurers in New Mexico must follow Obamacare protections regardless of changes to federal health-care provisions under a new state law. Legislation signed by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham April 4 copies elements of the Affordable Care Act that benefit people with pre-existing conditions, among other populations. The state is one of a handful looking to enshrine the Obamacare elements supporters say are needed to make health coverage more protective and reliable for consumers amid the fear of federal changes.

NORTH CAROLINA: Governor, citing lack of Medicaid expansion, vetoes proposed state spending plan

[Carolina Journal, 06/28/19]

Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed the biennial budget bill, saying North Carolina residents are dying because Republicans won’t expand Medicaid rolls. […]  “Many are dying because North Carolina has yet to say an important word — Yes,” Cooper said, surrounded by Democratic lawmakers, teachers, and health-care professionals during a news conference at the governor’s mansion. “Yes, we will accept Medicaid expansion.” 

OREGON: Oregon enacts legislation to codify ACA consumer protections into state law

[HealthInsurance.org, 12/21/19]

SB 250 (summary here), enacted in Oregon in 2019, codifies various ACA provisions into state law. […] Among other things, the legislation guarantees access to coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, prohibits discrimination in health coverage (particularly for transgender individuals), ensure mental health parity, implements a state-based risk adjustment program (if needed for market stability), and allows the state to require insurers to offer more standardized bronze plans.

PENNSYLVANIA: Gov. Wolf signs into law to create state-based health insurance marketplace

[The Meadville Tribune, 07/03/19]

Gov. Tom Wolf signed a law Tuesday that will allow the state to take over the marketplace for health insurance created for Pennsylvanians under the Affordable Care Act. It’s a move state officials say will allow for lower premiums for the roughly 400,000 people in the state who get health insurance under those plans.

RHODE ISLAND: Rhode Island governor signs $10B state budget

[Associated Press, 07/05/19]

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo has signed a nearly $10 billion state budget that boosts spending on education and continues a car tax phase-out. The Democrat said in a statement Friday that “several of my top priorities that will significantly improve the lives of all Rhode Islanders are contained in this budget,” including universal public pre-K and other education initiatives, protecting Affordable Care Act benefits, and higher pay for those working with the developmentally disabled.

VIRGINIA: Gov. Northam signs executive directive to ensure affordable, quality health care

[ABC13, 10/15/19]

Governor Ralph Northam has signed an executive directive to ensure access to affordable, quality health care coverage for Virginians.

[…]

The executive directive requires Virginia to explore strategies to reduce health insurance premiums statewide, and protect Virginians from federal uncertainty.

WISCONSIN: Gov. Evers issues executive orders on health care, pre-existing conditions

[Associated Press, 01/08/19]

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has issued a pair of executive orders designed to fulfill his campaign pledge of increasing access and affordability to health care and insurance. […] He’s also directing a number of state agencies to implement plans or make recommendations to protect people with pre-existing conditions and protect against attempts to repeal the federal law.

WASHINGTON: Inslee Signs Measure to Codify Some Health Care Rules

[Associated Press, 04/17/19]

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a measure to ensure that some of the Affordable Care Act’s federal protections are protected in state law. Inslee signed the measure Wednesday. It duplicates protections created by the health care law, known as Obamacare, including rules that insurers can’t block patients with pre-existing conditions from purchasing their plans, and can’t retroactively deny coverage except for fraud or misrepresentation.