States Get Involved in Lawsuit to Protect Obamacare, Saying Trump Can’t Be Trusted

May 19, 2017

Attorneys general from 15 states and the District of Columbia filed a motion Thursday to intervene in a long-running lawsuit over a core part of the Affordable Care Act.

In their legal filing, the attorneys general say they can't trust the Trump administration to defend their interests, because health insurance for millions of Americans has become “little more than political bargaining chips” for the White House.

The lawsuit is challenging how billions of dollars of federal payments were made to health insurers. Those payments are critical to the stability of the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, which are designed to help individuals buy government-subsidized health coverage. The attorneys general want to step in to defend the payments, saying there is a “sharp divide” between the administration's goals and those of states.

For months, health insurance companies have been trying to get a solid answer from Congress and President Trump's White House on the future of the payments, called cost-sharing reductions, that help lower-income Americans afford their deductibles and co-payments. Their calls for certainty have grown increasingly urgent as they face deadlines to decide whether to offer plans in states and how much to charge.

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