Salem, OR—Governor Kate Brown is leading eight other states in a call to the federal government to stop undermining the health care that Americans across the country rely on. Joined by Governors Inslee (Washington), Bullock (Montana), Cooper (North Carolina), Dayton (Minnesota), Hickenlooper (Colorado), Malloy (Connecticut), Northam (Virginia), and Wolf (Pennsylvania), Brown contacted Attorney General Jeff Sessions to share concerns over his refusal to defend coverage of people with pre-existing medical conditions in a lawsuit brought by a district in Texas against the United States.
Oregon, along with 15 other states, is challenging this in court
. Governor Brown and her colleagues sent the following letter to Attorney General Sessions:
"As governors committed to protecting healthcare access and equity for our citizens, we are gravely concerned by the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) refusal to defend the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) guarantee of health coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions. The unconscionable decision to abandon defending key elements of the law upends long-held, bipartisan tradition, injects unnecessary uncertainty into our states' insurance markets, and puts the health of tens of millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions — including as many as 17 million children — at risk. This decision by the DOJ also reverses President Trump's repeated promise that he would protect people with pre-existing conditions and is yet another example of this Administration's callous attempts to sabotage the healthcare that our constituents depend on. We strongly urge you to reconsider your decision in Texas v. United States and stand up to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions.
"All families deserve access to affordable, comprehensive health coverage. That's why the American public has overwhelmingly rejected efforts in Congress to return to a time when people would face higher rates, limited benefits, or denials of coverage simply for having widespread health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, pregnancy, asthma, or cancer. It is no surprise that a wide swath of key healthcare stakeholder groups representing patients, providers, and insurers have issued statements and filed amicus briefs opposing your agency's decision in this matter and re-affirming the importance of federal protections for pre-existing conditions. When such varied interests speak with one voice, we believe it's wise to listen.
"We are dedicated to expanding access to affordable care for the citizens of our states, and we will not remain silent as this Administration threatens to rip away healthcare from those who need it most. As state leaders, it is our duty to stand up and take action when federal policy threatens the health and pocketbooks of our constituents. We will take every available measure to stop this dangerous action and to protect our constituents with pre-existing conditions from losing their health coverage. Silence is not an option.
"We proudly stand with the 17 state Attorneys General who are filling the void of DOJ's leadership on this issue and fighting to ensure these critical protections remain intact. For the millions of families in our states whose lives and health are on the line, we strongly urge your Department to do the same."