Ruling Credits Plaintiffs’ Claims That Trump Administration Took “Actions To Harm” Americans by Increasing Premiums and Uninsured Rate

Amid Coronavirus Pandemic, Trump Administration Must Now Defend Its Attempts to Gut Americans’ Access to Affordable Health Care

Baltimore, MD — A federal court rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit challenging its unlawful sabotage of the Affordable Care Act. The cities of Columbus, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Chicago, and Philadelphia — as well as residents of Charlottesville, Virginia — sued the Trump administration to challenge policies that eliminate protections guaranteed by the ACA, increase premiums, and drive up the uninsured rate. In Friday’s ruling, the Court explained that the Plaintiffs “sufficiently allege[d] that Defendants’ actions … caused their asserted harms.”

Statement from Democracy Forward Executive Director Anne Harkavy

“The Trump administration will now be forced to defend in court the policies that it has implemented to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. The Court held that the Plaintiffs’ claims that the Trump administration’s policies have increased premiums and the number of uninsured Americans were sufficient to defeat the government’s motion to dismiss and allow the case to move forward. The consequences of the Trump administration’s illegal attempts to sabotage the ACA are clear, and our communities are suffering. We will keep standing with our partners to fight against the administration’s lawless actions.”

In its decision, the Court ruled that the case could proceed on the Plaintiffs’ challenge to the Trump administration’s 2019 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters (the “2019 Rule”), a rule that governs how health insurance exchanges operate. Multiple provisions of the 2019 Rule serve to weaken ACA exchanges, drive up premiums, and force out health insurers — ultimately increasing the rate of the underinsured and uninsured. The Court found that the cities “fairly tie[d]” the Trump administration’s actions “to the harm alleged.” While the Court dismissed the Plaintiffs’ Take Care Clause claim, it did not, however, hold that the Trump administration’s efforts to sabotage the ACA were lawful. The case will move forward.

The suit was filed in August 2018 and amended in January 2019. In June 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives, 20 states, 13 municipalities, four advocacy groups, and health insurance experts all filed briefs supporting our lawsuit and opposing the government’s efforts to dismiss the case.


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.

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