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Pennsylvania Attorney General Joins 15 States to Protect Cost-Sharing Payments under the ACA

May 19, 2017

Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Josh Shapiro joined 15 states and the District of Columbia attorneys general in petitioning to intervene in the lawsuit filed by the U.S. House of Representatives over the legality of cost-sharing payments under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

This case is currently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The lower court had ruled in favor of the U.S. House of Representatives who had challenged the legality of the cost-sharing reduction payments, absent a specific appropriation, that reduce out-of-pocket expenses for low income individuals purchasing coverage through the health insurance marketplaces.

The proceedings at the court of appeals were stayed at the behest of the Trump Administration and the House Republicans pending likely action on legislation to repeal and replace the ACA. The stay issued in February 2017, requires a status report every three months beginning May 22, 2017.

The recent petition filed by the state attorneys general contends that “if the district court’s injunction goes into effect, it would critically undermine the proper implementation of the ACA” and that this “would harm millions of state residents and the states themselves.”

Further, the petition states that “at a minimum, the annual uncertainty (associated with the federal appropriation process) created by the district court’s decision would make the states’ tasks in regulating and providing health insurance to their residents more complex, unpredictable, and expensive.”

Joining Pennsylvania were California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Vermont, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro stated, “if this attempt to destabilize the health care market succeeds, it would have a devastating impact on Pennsylvania families, our economy and the health care market in our Commonwealth.”

Last year, the American Hospital Association, along with other national health care organizations had filed a friend-of-the-court brief that contended that the cost-sharing reductions “prevent out-of-pocket costs from putting health care out of the reach for lower-income Americans that dutifully pay their premiums each month.”

HAP continues to advocate for maintaining funding support to ensure that lower income Pennsylvanians retain access to vitally needed health care services, and will be monitoring the status of this case in federal court.

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