October 26, 2020
Re: Urgent request to consider Florida’s withdrawal as a Plaintiff in California v. Texas.
Dear Attorney General Moody,
We are writing to urgently and respectfully request that you withdraw as a Plaintiff from California v. Texas,[i] a case that your office inherited from Florida’s prior Attorney General, Pam Bondi.
Legal scholars, including those who had opposed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and who supported prior ACA legal challenges, have found the arguments in this case are utterly lacking in merit. A range of experts has characterized the plaintiffs' arguments as “absurd, ludicrous, flimsy and far-fetched.”[ii] But, notwithstanding the lack of any legal merit, the case is now scheduled for oral argument before the Supreme Court on November 10, 2020. Given that one possible outcome would be a ruling limited to the current Plaintiff states, the need for Florida’s withdrawal is all the more urgent.[iii]
Our plea is made in light of the potentially devastating consequences that could flow from the Court’s ruling. The timing could not be worse, as Floridians continue to battle COVID-19, as well as the economic devastation of the shut-down. Any ruling that results in the weakening or repeal of the ACA would further undermine the health and wellbeing of millions of Floridians already suffering due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The undersigned organizations and individuals are dedicated to ensuring access to affordable health care, particularly for Florida’s most vulnerable residents. We bear witness to the hardship and devastation wrought by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
We are also acutely aware of the positive impact that the ACA has had on the lives of millions of Floridians and the potentially catastrophic consequences of this legal challenge. Since the implementation of the ACA in 2010, Florida has seen a dramatic reduction in its uninsured population.[iv] Florida leads the nation in health insurance enrollment under the ACA, with over 1.9 million Floridians signed up as of January this year.[v]
In October of this year, the Urban Institute estimated that a repeal of the ACA would lead to a 57% increase in the share of nonelderly Floridians without health insurance coverage.[vi] After the pandemic, the Economic Policy Institute reported that 867,110 Floridians lost employer provided health insurance (EPHI).[vii] A repeal of the ACA would both prevent these newly uninsured Floridians from accessing much-needed subsidized coverage, as well as eliminate coverage for the almost 2 million Florida residents who were enrolled in a plan as of January 2020.[viii] In the face of historic joblessness, depriving newly unemployed and uninsured Floridians of the necessary safety net provided through ACA marketplace subsidies would be a grave mistake.
In the coming months, the ACA will play a crucial role in Florida’s ability to manage the COVID-19 crisis. With or without a vaccine, it is imperative that the maximum number of Floridians have access to affordable treatment. From a public health standpoint, an increase in Florida’s uninsured population would be disastrous, as the uninsured often avoid seeking necessary medical attention.[ix]
The repeal of the ACA in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis would also be devastating for Florida’s aging population. The ACA’s prohibition of discrimination based on preexisting conditions and age are especially important.[x],[xi] If the ACA were to be repealed, an estimated 8.4 million Floridians with pre-existing conditions could face higher premiums, benefit exclusions, or even outright denial of coverage.[xii]
The COVID-19 crisis has completely upended the conditions and premises under which Florida entered the lawsuit. Therefore, we, the undersigned, respectfully urge you to act in the interests of Floridians by withdrawing from California v. Texas.
Florida Health Justice Project
Florida Policy Institute
Florida Voices for Health
1199SEIU Florida UHE
Advocacy Partners Team
Americans for Immigrant Justice
Central Florida Jobs with Justice
Children’s Services Council of Broward County
Community Justice Project
Disability Rights Florida
Florida Alliance for Retired Americans (FLARA)
Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy
Florida Clinicians for Climate Action
Florida Immigrant Coalition
Florida Impact to End Hunger
Hispanic Unity of Florida
Huddle in the Harbor, Inc.
La Gringa Aplatanada, Inc.
League of Women Voters of the Space Coast
League of Women Voters of Florida
Legal Aid Service of Broward County, Inc.
Lupus and Allied Diseases Association, Inc.
Miami Freedom Project
Miami Workers Center
National Association of Social Workers - Florida Chapter
National Lawyers Guild South Florida Chapter
Opportunity For All Floridians
South Florida LCLAA
Southern Legal Counsel
St. Johns County Legal Aid
The Common Ground Project
Barbara J Prager
Claudia Ramirez, MSW
David B. Soule
David Lawrence Jr.
Dr. Wayne Stephens
Ethel Sultana Andrews
Carol A. Anderson
Jane Trocheck Walker
Janet R. McAliley
Jeanette L. Hartzell
Kevin J Byrne
Marian F. Griffiths MD
Mary E. McLaughlin, PhD, PA-C
Mercedes Pichard, Ed.D.
Most Rev William R Cavins
Natalie K Castellanos
Richard K. MacMaster
Robert E. Rosen
Rosa Castro Feinberg, Ph. D.
Samantha Howell, Esq.
Stephen A. Meleski
Tammy D. Greer
Vilma N Fry
Vincent J. Lipsio
Walter T. Cermak
[i] No. 19-840, https://www.supremecourt.gov/search.aspx?filename=/docket/docketfiles/html/public/19-840.html. The case has been consolidated with Texas v. California, No. 19-1019, https://www.supremecourt.gov/search.aspx?filename=/docket/docketfiles/html/public/19-1019.html.
[ii] Suit Challenging ACA Legally Suspect but Threatens Loss of Coverage for Tens of Millions, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, (August 21, 2020), https://www.cbpp.org/research/health/suit-challenging-aca-legally-suspect-but-threatens-loss-of-coverage-for-tens-of. (Summarizing legal merits of the case from experts on both side of the aisle. “Legal experts, including experts opposed to the ACA and who supported other legal challenges to the law, almost uniformly agree that the arguments in this case are “absurd” or “ludicrous”.” Two Republican state attorneys general (from Montana and Ohio) submitted an amicus brief stating, “to describe [the District Court’s position] is to refute it.” Republican Senator Lamar Alexander has called the Administration’s position that the 2017 tax bill effectively repealed the ACA “flimsy” and “as far-fetched as any I’ve ever heard.”).
[iii] MaryBeth Musumeci,, Explaining Texas v. U.S.: A Guide to the Case Challenging the ACA, Kaiser Family Foundation, (September 1, 2020), https://www.kff.org/health-reform/issue-brief/explaining-texas-v-u-s-a-guide-to-the-case-challenging-the-aca/, (citing to the 5th Circuit’s slip opinion directing the trial court to consider the federal government’s new argument that any order prohibiting enforcement of the ACA should extend only to provisions that injure Plaintiffs and that the ruling only apply to the Plaintiff states) (emphasis added).
[iv] Effect of the Affordable Care Act in Florida, Ballotpedia, (Accessed October 9, 2020), https://ballotpedia.org/Effect_of_the_Affordable_Care_Act_in_Florida.
[v]Justine Griffin,, Obamacare Demand Remains High in Florida as Enrollment Nears 2 Million, Tampa Bay Times, (January 14, 2020), https://www.tampabay.com/news/health/2020/01/14/obamacare-demand-remains-high-in-florida-as-enrollment-nears-2-million/. See also Marketplace Enrollment 2014-2020, Kaiser Family Foundation, (Accessed October 12, 2020), https://www.kff.org/health-reform/state-indicator/marketplace-enrollment/?currentTimeframe=0&selectedRows=%7B%22states%22:%7B%22florida%22:%7B%7D%7D%7D&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D.
[vi] Linda J Blumberg, Michael Simpson, Matthew Buettgens, Jessica Banthin, and John Holahan, The Potential Effects of a Supreme Court Decision to Overturn the Affordable Care Act: Updated Estimates, Urban Institute, (October 2020), https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/103072/the-potential-effects-of-a-supreme-court-decision-to-overturn-the-affordable-care-act-updated-estimates_01.pdf.
[vii] Ben Zipperer, Josh Bivens, 16.2 million workers have likely lost employer-provided health insurance since the coronavirus shock began, Economic Policy Institute (May 14, 2020),
https://www.epi.org/blog/16-2-million-workers-have-likely-lost-employer-provided-health-insurance-since-the-coronavirus-shock-began/, at Figure A.
[viii] Justine Griffin,, Obamacare Demand Remains High in Florida as Enrollment Nears 2 Million, Tampa Bay Times, (January 14, 2020), https://www.tampabay.com/news/health/2020/01/14/obamacare-demand-remains-high-in-florida-as-enrollment-nears-2-million/. See also Marketplace Enrollment 2014-2020, Kaiser Family Foundation, (Accessed October 12, 2020), https://www.kff.org/health-reform/state-indicator/marketplace-enrollment/?currentTimeframe=0&selectedRows=%7B%22states%22:%7B%22florida%22:%7B%7D%7D%7D&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D.
[ix] Jennifer Tolbert, What Issues Will Uninsured People Face with Testing and Treatment for COVID-19?, Kaiser Family Foundation, (March 16, 2020), https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/fact-sheet/what-issues-will-uninsured-people-face-with-testing-and-treatment-for-covid-19/.
[x] How the ACA is Helping Older Adults During COVID-19, Justice in Aging, (June 25, 2020), https://www.justiceinaging.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/How-the-ACA-is-Helping-the-Older-Adults-Most-Impacted-by-the-COVID19-Pandemic.pdf.
[xi] Nicole Rapfogel, Emily Gee, and Mathew Brady, Affordable Care Act Repeal by State, Center for American Progress, (March 2, 202), https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/healthcare/news/2020/03/02/480997/affordable-care-act-repeal-state/.