Baltimore City Joins Other Jurisdictions, Individuals, to Sue President Trump for Intentionally Sabotaging the ACA, Increasing Costs of Health Coverage

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Faced with Stark Increases in Premiums and Rising Underinsured Rates, Americans Sue to Halt Trump Administration Sabotage

Today, Baltimore City 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 complaint – filed on behalf of Baltimore, Maryland, Columbus, Ohio, Cincinnati, Ohio, Chicago, Illinois, and citizens 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 has worked to discourage enrollment, raise prices, sow uncertainty in insurance markets, and eliminate choices for quality health insurance. 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 faithfully execute the law.

The Trump Administration’s actions have imposed drains on the budget of Baltimore City, by forcing the City to devote additional funding, personnel, and other resources to subsidize and provide uncompensated care to residents lacking adequate health insurance. The Baltimore City Health Department provides services for reproductive health, HIV/AIDS treatment, dental and oral health care, immunizations, and opioid addiction treatment on a free or reduced-fee scale, serving as an essential resource for uninsured and underinsured residents. Further increases in the uninsured rate will place an even greater burden on programs already short on resources, and negatively affect the health and wellness of the City’s most vulnerable residents.

“Our Health Department’s clinics serve as a safety net for the uninsured and underinsured in Baltimore City, providing essential health services from reproductive health and dental care to HIV/AIDS and addiction treatment,” said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen. “By intentionally sabotaging the ACA, the Trump administration is directly increasing the number of uninsured and underinsured Baltimoreans. This will increase demand for our services, without additional resources. We will continue to provide as much care as we can on a shoestring budget, because we believe that health care is a fundamental right, and should not be reserved for only the wealthy.”

“The City brought this suit to safeguard the fundamental rights of Baltimore residents to health care by stopping the Trump Administration’s unlawful efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act and harm the City and its most vulnerable residents,” said Baltimore City Solicitor Andre M. Davis.

Another City department greatly impacted by the changes to the ACA is the Baltimore City Fire Department. In 2017, the BCFD answered 17,000 calls from uninsured residents. Although the department seeks reimbursement for services from uninsured patients, it is rarely successful. An increase in the uninsured rate will only further the financial strain on a system which is already overstretched.

President Trump announced 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 Trump Administration has tried time and time again to sabotage the health care of millions of Americans.  I applaud Democracy Forward and the City of Baltimore for standing up to defend critical protections—including those for people with pre-existing health conditions—from the Trump Administration’s destructive attempts to undermine the law of the land,” said Congressman  Elijah E. Cummings.

“The Trump Administration’s heartless attempts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act have threatened Baltimoreans’ access to affordable health care and have raised costs for community clinics and other vital health services in our city,” said Congressman John Sarbanes, a prominent member of the Subcommittee on Health in the U.S. House of Representatives and a longtime advocate for quality health care. “I strongly support the city’s effort to protect residents from the Trump Administration’s harmful attacks on our health care system. Every American deserves access to high-quality and affordable health care.”

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