Nation’s Leading HIV, STD and Hepatitis Organizations Gravely Concerned by Trump Administration’s Refusal to Defend ACA

By Howard Winchester June 12, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 12, 2018

CONTACT: Kyle Murphy

kmurphy@aidsunited.org | 202-876-2820

Nation’s Leading HIV, STD and Hepatitis Organizations Gravely Concerned by Trump Administration’s Refusal to Defend ACA

 Urge DOJ to reconsider and protect those living with pre-existing conditions

Washington, DC -- Five of the nation’s leading HIV, STD, and viral hepatitis organizations expressed grave concern today at the Trump Administration’s decision not to defend critical components of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in legal challenges brought by the state of Texas. By failing to defend the law’s central pre-existing conditions protections, AIDS United, NASTAD, the National Coalition of STD Directors, NMAC, and The AIDS Institute fear that this Administration has abandoned millions of Americans with chronic or pre-existing conditions, including HIV, hepatitis, and other STDs, who rely on the ACA for access to critical, affordable health care coverage.

In a suit filed in federal court this February, Texas claimed that when Congress eliminated the penalty associated with the individual mandate, it made the mandate itself unconstitutional. In its brief filed with the court on June 7, the Justice Department (DOJ) wrote that it agreed with the view that the individual mandate is indeed unconstitutional and that if it is eliminated, two provisions of the law that offer protections for people with pre-existing conditions -- specifically, the guaranteed issue and community ratings provisions -- must also go. 

The potential effects of the Trump Administration’s decision cannot be overstated. In addition to removing protections from health insurer discrimination and denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions, including HIV, the actions advocated by the DOJ would wreak havoc on insurance markets. 

The administration recently released an updated report on the progress made in achieving the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which they claim is evidence of their ongoing commitment to protecting and improving the health and wellbeing of all Americans. Unfortunately, the Administration’s decision not to defend the ACA undermines that claim, as does every effort to dismantle access to healthcare that this Administration has made. We will never realize the vision outlined in the Strategy or end this epidemic without the reforms that significantly expanded health care coverage to people living with or at risk for HIV.

We urge the Administration to reconsider its decision and to vigorously defend the ACA in this and all further court challenges.

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AIDS United (AU), NASTAD, the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), NMAC, and The AIDS Institute (TAI) are national non-partisan, non-profit organizations focused on ending HIV in the U.S. They have been working in partnership to identify and share resources to sustain successes and progress we have made in HIV, STD, and hepatitis prevention, care and treatment in the United States.