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Yost Leads Effort to Protect People with Pre-Existing Conditions

4/1/2019

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost today filed an amicus brief with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals urging the court to reverse a lower court's decision that found the Affordable Care Act (ACA) unconstitutional. The state of Montana joined Ohio in its brief.

Yost argues the unconstitutional “individual mandate” can be removed from the ACA without throwing out other provisions in the law, including protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions.

“I do not like judicial activism in either its liberal or conservative flavors,” Yost said. “Chief Justice Marshall was right when he said it is the province of the courts to say what the law is — but it is also true that the writing of the law belongs to Congress.”

A group of 20 attorneys general and governors filed the suit, Texas v. United States, in February 2018, arguing that when Congress reduced the penalty to zero for violating the individual mandate, the mandate became unconstitutional and the remainder of the ACA had to fall with it. Precedent would require the trial court to guess at Congress’s intent, and whether it would have passed the rest of the law if it knew the individual mandate was unconstitutional.

However, Ohio and Montana advocate that when Congress acted in 2017 to reduce the penalty for violating the individual mandate to zero, it expressly left in place protections that would ban insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

Repealing all of the ACA could leave 1.9 million Ohioans and more than 10 million people nationwide who have pre-existing conditions, without medical coverage – a figure which does not begin to count the elderly population that would also be impacted.

Click here to read the amicus brief.

MEDIA CONTACT:
David O'Neil: 614-728-6069

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