President’s Politically-Motivated Attempts to ‘Dismantle’ the Affordable Care Act Violate Constitutional Duty to ‘Take Care’ to Faithfully Execute the Law
Faced with Stark Increases in Premiums and Rising Underinsured Rates, Americans Sue to Halt Trump Administration Sabotage
Washington, DC — Today, individuals and cities across America filed suit against the Trump Administration for intentionally and unlawfully sabotaging the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In systematically attacking the health law, President Trump is increasing the cost of health coverage and the number of uninsured Americans, and is violating his constitutional duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
The 130 page complaint – filed on behalf of Columbus, Ohio, Baltimore, Maryland, Cincinnati, Ohio, Chicago, Illinois, and individuals in Charlottesville, Virginia – is a testament to the breadth and persistence of the Trump Administration’s attempts to sabotage the ACA and jeopardize access to affordable, quality health insurance. After the President’s allies in Congress repeatedly failed to repeal the ACA, the Administration worked to discourage enrollment, raise prices, sow uncertainty in insurance markets, and eliminate choices for quality health insurance. Just yesterday the Administration announced yet another step to undermine the ACA by clearing the way for short-term junk plans that are not required to cover pre-existing conditions.
“President Trump said himself that he wanted the Affordable Care Act to explode, and his administration has been busy laying the dynamite and lighting the fuse,” said Democracy Forward Executive Director Anne Harkavy. “Not only do the President’s actions hurt American families, they violate the Constitution he swore to uphold.”
The suit challenges the Administration’s attempts to sabotage the ACA under the Administrative Procedure Act and the Take Care Clause of the Constitution, and asks the court to order the President and his Administration to take certain steps to faithfully execute the law, including restoring funding for advertising and for Navigator groups; extending the 2019 open enrollment period; and promoting of the availability of comprehensive, reasonably-priced health insurance for individuals and families with preexisting conditions.
The Administration’s sabotage efforts have affected families and individuals who purchase their insurance on ACA exchanges, and families in Charlottesville, Virginia, have been hit particularly hard. In 2017, insurance companies left the marketplace, specifically citing the Trump Administration’s actions. The individual plaintiffs in this case, Steve Vondra and Bonnie Morgan, both saw dramatic increases in their premiums in 2018 as a result of the Administration’s sabotage efforts.
President Trump announced that his Administration’s goal is to dismantle the ACA by executive action alone, until “Obamacare is finished.” By attempting to undermine the duly enacted Affordable Care Act, the Administration’s actions violate both the Administrative Procedure Act and the Take Care Clause of the Constitution.
The suit was filed August 2 in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.
Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization that scrutinizes Executive Branch activity across policy areas, represents clients in litigation to challenge unlawful actions, and educates the public when the White House or federal agencies break the law.