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Commissioner Jones issues statement after Texas judge rules Affordable Care Act unconstitutional

News: 2018 Press Release

For Release: December 14, 2018
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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Commissioner Jones issues statement after Texas judge rules Affordable Care Act unconstitutional
Condemns Republican Attorneys General for taking healthcare away from Americans

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As a result of lawsuits filed by Republican Attorneys General, today a judge in Texas ruled that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones issued the following statement in response to Judge Reed O’Connor’s decision in Texas v. Azar regarding the Affordable Care Act:

“This ruling threatens access to health care for tens of millions of Americans who gained health coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act and means that more than 100 million Americans with pre-existing conditions are now at risk when it comes to buying their own health insurance coverage. The lawsuit brought by Republican Attorneys General to deprive Americans of life-saving health care has also successfully placed in jeopardy the protections for those with pre-existing conditions. 

California will continue to fight in court to protect healthcare reform and the right of those with pre-existing conditions to get health coverage. 

The judge decided, with the Republican Congress’ elimination of the tax penalty for failure to comply with the individual mandate, that the individual mandate is now unconstitutional. In an unwarranted overreach, the Texas judge ruled the entire Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, including premium subsidies and even those portions of the ACA, such as the expansion of Medicaid, that are completely unrelated to the individual insurance mandate.  

In anticipation of Republican efforts to take health care away from Californians, the State of California has enacted many of the protections of the Affordable Care Act in California law, and, unlike the federal exchange, Covered California remains open for enrollment through January 15th. I encourage people to continue signing up for health insurance coverage in California.  Any Californian with questions regarding the effect of the Texas ruling can contact the Department’s Consumer Services division at 1-800-927-4357.”

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Media Note: In 2010, Congress enacted the Affordable Care Act, which brought new health insurance coverage to tens of millions of Americans and included a tax penalty associated with the mandate that individuals obtain insurance. Last year, the Republican Congress lowered the penalty amount down to zero, but left the mandate to purchase insurance in place. 

Led by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, the California Department of Insurance is the consumer protection agency for the nation's largest insurance marketplace and safeguards all of the state’s consumers by fairly regulating the insurance industry. Under the Commissioner’s direction, the Department uses its authority to protect Californians from insurance rates that are excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory, oversee insurer solvency to pay claims, set standards for agents and broker licensing, perform market conduct reviews of insurance companies, resolve consumer complaints, and investigate and prosecute insurance fraud. Consumers are urged to call 1-800-927-4357 with any questions or contact us at via webform or online chat. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.

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