Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Corporation Counsel Ed Siskel announced today that the City of Chicago has joined the cities of Columbus, Cincinnati and Baltimore, and individuals in Charlottesville, Virginia, along with Democracy Forward, a non-profit legal organization, in filing a lawsuit against President Donald Trump and his administration for intentionally and unlawfully sabotaging the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In systematically attacking the health law, the Trump Administration is increasing the cost of health coverage, increasing the number of uninsured Americans and violating President Trump's constitutional duty to faithfully execute the law.
“I worked hard to help President Obama expand access to affordable health care for millions of Americans, and I will not sit idly by while the Trump administration raises the cost of care and rolls back access to life-saving coverage,” said Mayor Emanuel. “President Trump is attempting to sabotage the Affordable Care Act out of pure spite. It is not just immoral, it is illegal, and the City of Chicago looks forward to defending our residents’ rights to access affordable care in court.”
The complaint, which is being handled by the Chicago Department of Law’s (DOL) new Affirmative Litigation Division, states that the Trump Administration is knowingly and intentionally acting to undermine the ACA and make it harder for Americans to access affordable, quality health insurance. After President Trump’s allies in Congress repeatedly failed to repeal the ACA, the Trump Administration has worked to discourage enrollment, raise prices, sow uncertainty in insurance markets and eliminate choices for quality health insurance.
The lawsuit outlines the Trump Administration’s attempts to sabotage the ACA, and asks the court to order President Trump and his Administration to faithfully execute the law, which is his constitutional duty.
“The actions of the President and his administration violate both the Administrative Procedure Act and the Take Care Clause of the Constitution,” said Ed Siskel, Corporation Counsel. “The President has an established obligation to enforce laws, and he cannot allow his personal politics to override the will of Congress.”
Like other cities across the country, the City of Chicago will be harmed by the rise in the uninsured and underinsured rate caused by the Trump Administration’s unlawful actions. Specifically, an increase in number of uninsured or underinsured individuals would force Chicago to pay more to operate and subsidize the clinics that serve its uninsured and underinsured residents; to fund its ambulance system in the face of greater unrecouped costs from calls by uninsured and underinsured individuals; and to manage downstream costs of a population that is sicker and less productive.
The Trump Administration’s sabotage efforts have also affected families and individuals who purchase their insurance on ACA exchanges. In 2017, insurance companies left the marketplace, specifically citing instability caused by the Administration’s actions. The individual plaintiffs in this case, Steve Vondra and Bonnie Morgan, saw dramatic increases in their premiums in 2018 as a result of the Trump Administration’s efforts to undercut the ACA.
“President Trump said himself that he wanted the Affordable Care Act to explode, and his administration has been busy laying the dynamite,” said Democracy Forward Executive Director Anne Harkavy. “The President’s actions are not just detrimental to American families, they’re a violation of the constitutional duty he swore to uphold.”
President Trump announced his Administration's goal is to dismantle the ACA by executive action alone, until “Obamacare is finished.” By attempting to undermine the duly enacted Affordable Care Act, the Administration’s actions violate both the Administrative Procedure Act and the Take Care Clause of the Constitution.
The recently created Affirmative Litigation Division of the Department of Law helped prepare and file this suit. Formed in 2018, the Affirmative Litigation Division works to ensure the rights of Chicago residents are proactively protected against any threatening actions by the federal government, private business or any other entity.