WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, 16 HIV organizations filed a friend-of-the-court brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Lambda Legal and Ropes & Gray filed the brief on behalf of the organizations, a press release from Lambda Legal stated.
The brief argues in support of 19 states and DC, led by California, and the U.S. House of Representatives who are collectively defending the ACA and appealing a ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that invalidates a key provision of the ACA and threatens the law in its entirety. The brief urges the court to uphold the constitutionality of the ACA and describes the role it has had in expanding health care coverage for people living with HIV, particularly those with lower incomes or who have faced barriers to care in the past such as LGBTQ people and people of color.
“The COVID-19 pandemic highlights why broad and easy access to health care is so important. As a country, we must ensure access to health insurance and comprehensive, affordable care. The ACA, and in particular its expansion of Medicaid, has helped countless people obtain health insurance who were otherwise left to fend for themselves when they got sick. Its antidiscrimination protections on the basis of sex, race, disability, and those who have pre-existing conditions such as HIV have been critical to eliminating barriers to health care,” said Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, senior attorney and health care strategist at Lambda Legal. “If the Court does not uphold the ACA, the impacts to our communities, especially on LGBTQ people and people living with HIV who are people of color and lower-income, will be catastrophic.”
ACA reforms have helped an estimated 20 million people obtain health insurance and with it access to lifesaving medical care, including many living with HIV who were previously denied coverage because their HIV status constituted a pre-existing condition or because they simply could not afford it.
Signatories include AIDS United, American Academy of HIV Medicine, Black AIDS Institute, Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, Housing Works, Human Rights Campaign, Latino Commission on AIDS, National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors, National Black Justice Coalition, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Minority AIDS Council, Positive Women’s Network – USA, The AIDS Institute, and Whitman-Walker Health and the Whitman-Walker Institute.