SACRAMENTO July 20, 2020 – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra applauded today’s ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, which found the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) rule reinterpreting Section 1303 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) unlawful. The Trump Administration’s Separate Abortion Billing Rule would require consumers to make two separate payment transactions for healthcare – one of at least $1 for abortion coverage and one for the remaining health benefits – or risk losing coverage altogether. In today’s decision, the District Court held that the Separate Abortion Payment Rule is arbitrary and capricious, in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.
“Today’s ruling by the district court affirmed what we already knew – the Trump Administration’s Separate Abortion Billing Rule is not only foolish, it’s illegal,” said Attorney General Becerra. “At the California Department of Justice, we will continue to fight for access to equitable healthcare and reproductive rights for all. As our nation continues to wrestle with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever that we fight so that every American can access the healthcare they need.”
On March 30, 2020, Attorney General Becerra and New York Attorney General Letitia James led a coalition of eight attorneys general in filing a motion for summary judgment in their case opposing the HHS rule. The coalition argued that the new rule violates federal law, disproportionately affects states committed to ensuring comprehensive reproductive healthcare, places excessive burdens on consumers seeking reliable health coverage, and is inconsistent with the ACA’s requirement of equitable access to healthcare.
The Attorney General has been a leader in fighting for women’s reproductive freedom: he led a multistate coalition in filing amicus briefs in support of lawsuits challenging a series of restrictive abortion laws in Missouri and Arkansas; joined a coalition of 22 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief supporting a constitutional challenge to a Louisiana law requiring abortion providers to maintain hospital admitting privileges; led a coalition of 20 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief challenging Mississippi’s near-total ban on abortion in Jackson Women’s Health Organization, et al. v. State Health Officer of the Mississippi Department of Health, et al; led a coalition of 22 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit challenging Mississippi’s House Bill 1510; and secured injunctions against the Trump Administration’s harmful rules that would do away with the ACA’s contraception coverage requirement.
Attorney General Becerra was joined in defending today’s lawsuit by the attorneys general of New York, Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Oregon, Vermont, and the District of Columbia.
A copy of the court order is available here.