Beshear Moving Forward in Fight for Affordable, Accessible Health Care
Today, Attorney General Andy Beshear and a coalition of 20 other attorneys general took another step forward in the fight to protect health care by filing theirin the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Beshear said he is proud to be leading Kentucky’s efforts to preserve access to affordable health care for more than 1.3 million Kentuckians and tens of millions of Americans.
“This case is about making sure our families have the ability to see a good doctor and afford treatment,” said Beshear. “If this case is not overturned, our health care systems could crumble and the effects would be devastating for those with pre-existing conditions who would be denied coverage and for women and seniors who would be forced to pay more.”
Beshear said there are at leastKentuckians would be harmed if the case is not overturned including: expanded Medicaid would be eliminated; children under the age of 26 would not be able to remain on their parents’ insurance; seniors would have to pay more for prescription drugs; and guaranteed pregnancy coverage would be eliminated.
Today’s filing continues the coalition’s legal defense of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
In their brief, the attorneys general argue that the plaintiffs do not have standing, that the district court wrongly concluded that the minimum coverage provision was unconstitutional and that there was no legal basis for declaring the rest of the ACA invalid.
The attorneys general outline the consequences of upholding the district court’s decision, which they say would wreak havoc on the entire American health care system and have profound effects for those with preexisting conditions, which includes over 17 million children.
Beshear said that not challenging the ruling would leave Kentucky’s working families who rely on tax credits and employer-sponsored plans unable to afford coverage.
The Texas v. U.S. case began in February 2018, when the plaintiffs, two individuals and 18 states led by Texas, filed a lawsuit challenging one provision of the ACA – the requirement that individuals maintain health insurance or a zero dollar tax. The plaintiffs argued that this change made the minimum coverage provision unconstitutional and that the rest of the ACA could not be “severed” from that one provision, so the entire Act must be struck down.
On December 14, 2018, a Northern District of Texas judge issued his decision agreeing with the plaintiffs.
In response, the coalition of attorneys general filed a motion to stay the effect of that decision and to expedite resolution of this case. The district court granted that motion on December 30, 2018. OnJanuary 3, 2019, the coalition of attorneys generaltheir legal defense and formally filed a notice of appeal, challenging the district court’s opinion in the Fifth Circuit.
Attorney General Beshear is also fighting to preserve Kentuckians’ access to affordable health care in two other cases.
Beshear and a group of 11 attorneys general are seeking to invalidate a change in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Association Health Plan Rule that would allow individual and small group health plans not to comply with the ACA.
Beshear said he is involved in the case to help ensure insurance companies cannot discriminate in premiums or in coverage against individual and small business employees based on pre-existing conditions, age and gender. The attorneys general are awaiting a decision in the case.
In the third case, Kentucky, 17 other states and the District of Columbiato force the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to continue federal payments to insurance companies that reduce monthly insurance premiums for many low- and middle-income families.
The case is currently on hold as insurance companies found an inventive way to collect the payments without charging most families more, but if the funding status changes the attorneys general are prepared to move the case forward.
Kentuckians can follow Beshear’s progress to preserve health care online at
Beshear is also taking on pharmaceutical companies inthat he says fueled the state’s opioid epidemic. Each of the cases remain in Kentucky courtrooms, where the public can attend to see and hear first-hand how each company put profits above the health and well-being of Kentuckians.
Last week, Beshear also launched an investigation into pharmaceutical. Beshear is probing companies that provide and manage pharmacy benefits for more than 1.5 million Kentuckians through state programs.