Health Care

City of Columbus v. Trump

In City of Columbus v. Trump, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland considered whether a number of actions by the Trump Administration taken to undermine the Affordable Care Act are unlawful.

Case Summary

In 2010, Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) to increase the number of Americans covered by health insurance, decrease the costs of health care, and provide important protections to health care consumers. The Trump Administration, however, repeatedly took steps to undermine Congress’s goal of expanding coverage.  For instance, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services promulgated a Rule that ends the requirement that Exchanges provide “standardized options,” which make it easier for consumers to compare plans and more likely that they will purchase insurance. That same Rule also ends the requirement that Navigators—entities that assist individuals with signing up for insurance—have a physical presence in the area they serve, seriously undermining their effectiveness.  The Administration also reduced the open enrollment period, drastically reduced funding for advertisements of the Exchanges, cut funding for Navigators, and failed to set numeric enrollment targets.  In August 2018, a group of cities and individuals filed suit, arguing that these actions, which together undermine the ACA’s benefits and protections, are unlawful.

CAC, along with the General Counsel of the House of Representatives, filed a brief on behalf of the U.S House of Representatives as amicus curiae in support of the plaintiffs. Our brief made three points. First, our brief discussed the state of the health insurance market at the time the ACA passed, pointing to the serious difficulties that system had in providing quality, affordable health insurance to all Americans.  Second, the brief described the reforms that the Act put in place in order to increase the number of Americans with health insurance and to provide critical protections to those with insurance. Finally, our brief argued that many of the actions detailed in the complaint in this case were designed to make it more difficult for people to take advantage of the ACA’s benefits and protections, thereby undermining the Act.

On April 10, 2020, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland denied in part the Department of Justice’s motion to dismiss, allowing the case to proceed. The district court ultimately concluded that several parts of the rule were unlawful and could not stand.

Case Timeline

  • June 7, 2019

    CAC, along with the General Counsel of the House of Representatives, filed an amicus brief on behalf of the U.S House of Representatives in support of the plaintiffs

    D. Md. Amicus Br.

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