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Lawsuit Including Utah To Repeal Affordable Care Act Gets Support From Justice Department

State Attorney General's Office
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, whose office signed on to support the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Opponents of the Affordable Care Act in Utah have reason to celebrate today. On Monday night officials in the Justice Department announced they support plaintiffs that include the state of Utah in a court ruling that would undo the health law.

Utah is one of 20 statessigned on to a lawsuit in Texas to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA). In December, a Texas judge ruled that by eliminating the individual mandate requiring people to have insurance the entire law was unconstitutional. Last night officials at the Justice Department said they agreed with that.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes signed on as a plaintiff in the suit last year. Reyes’ office declined to comment on the status of the case or the Justice Department’s new support of the court ruling to overturn the ACA.

In a press release from December of 2018, Reyes’ office wrote “the ACA was a clear example of impermissible federal overreach.”

Undoing the ACA would have dramatic consequences for all states, including Utah.

“Nearly 195,000 people who are currently enrolled in the marketplace in Utah would lose coverage because that coverage would go away,” said Jennifer Tolbert, director of State Health Reform at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Provisions like pre-existing conditions protections, ACA insurance subsidies and the ability of states to expand low-income Medicaid insurance — slated to start on April 1 in Utah — would also be affected Tolbert said.

Officials in the Utah Insurance Department and state Medicaid office said it was too early to know how a final decision could affect insurance coverage.

The ruling is being appealed by a group of Democratic attorneys general in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. In the meantime the health law is still in place.

Erik Neumann is a radio producer and writer. A native of the Pacific Northwest, his work has appeared on public radio stations and in magazines along the West Coast. He received his Bachelor's Degree in geography from the University of Washington and a Master's in Journalism from UC Berkeley. Besides working at KUER, he enjoys being outside in just about every way possible.
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