[JURIST] More than a dozen Democratic attorneys general filed a motion to intervene [text, PDF] in a lawsuit that threatens key parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) [text] on Thursday. House v. Price (formerly House v. Burwell) [complaint, PDF], a suit currently pending in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website], was filed in an attempt to cut subsidy payments to insurance plans that were created under the ACA that help cover out-of-pocket expenses for low-income Americans. Attorneys general from Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington state and the District of Columbia have joined New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra [official websites] on the motion. They argue that the "States have unique sovereign interests—in administering their insurance markets and safeguarding their residents—that the current parties cannot represent." They assert that cutting subsidy payments would increase the number of uninsured Americans, "hurting vulnerable individuals and directly burdening the States." If the replacement for the ACA, the American Health Care Act, passes in the Senate, the pending litigation will become moot.
Repealing the ACA has been a significant priority for President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers. In March an earlier version of the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA) was withdrawn from consideration [JURIST report] after failing to get enough support to pass. Earlier that month, Republican lawmakers released two amendments [JURIST report] to the AHCA in an effort to appeal to both conservative and liberal critics. Senators proposed [JURIST report] the initial ACA replacement bill at the end of January. This came after Trump signed an executive order [JURIST report] aimed at repealing the ACA, shortly after being sworn in. The Senate had prepared for the repealing of the ACA earlier that month when it voted 51-48 [JURIST report] to prevent the process from being subject to a filibuster.