FRANKFORT, Ky. (WSAZ) — A group of state attorneys general is joining together to protect the nation’s health care system by combating a lawsuit aimed at dismantling the Affordable Care Act.
It was announced by Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear Monday.
The original lawsuit was filed in a Texas federal court in February by 18 state attorneys general and two governors.
Beshear and 15 other attorneys general are trying to intervene in Texas et. al. v. United States by saying the lawsuit would devastate the nation’s health care system. They say it would cause millions of people to lose access to quality, affordable insurance and cost billions of dollars in federal funding.
The lawsuit asks federal court to stop Medicaid expansion, end tax credits that help people afford insurance, allow insurance companies to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, take away seniors; prescription drug discounts and take funding from the nation’s public health system, including work to fight the opioid epidemic.
The lawsuit claims the ACA is unconstitutional because the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated the ACA penalty for failing to purchase health insurance.
“Kentucky stands to lose a projected $49.7 billion in federal funding for our expanded Medicaid and subsidies for those on the individual market if this lawsuit moves forward,” Beshear said. “Hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians are at risk of losing their health care coverage, many of whom have coverage for the first time.”
The $49.7 billion is estimated to be lost from 2019-2028.
Beshear views Kentucky’s drug epidemic as the single greatest challenge facing the state, which is still recovering from the flood of addictive pain pills and now faces a surge in drugs like heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil.
“At a time when the opioid crisis is tearing our families apart, this lawsuit seeks to eliminate tens of millions of dollars for treatment and recovery that are used to help our friends, family and neighbors who have fallen into addiction,” Beshear said. “This funding is essential in our ongoing fight against addiction.”
In seeking to intervene, Beshear is joined by attorneys general in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia.
The parties seeking to dismantle the ACA include attorneys general in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the governors of Maine and Mississippi.