Attorney General James Seeks to Immediately Halt Trump Administration from Allowing Health Care Discrimination to Move Forward

AG James Files Motion for Summary Judgment in Suit to Stop HHS Rule Targeting
LGBTQ+ Individuals, Those with Limited English Proficiency, and Women

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today filed a motion for summary judgment in a lawsuit seeking to immediately stop a new Trump Administration rule that makes it easier for health care providers and insurance companies to discriminate against certain vulnerable and protected classes of Americans.

“The Trump Administration has tried again, again, and again to repeal, dismantle, and chip away at the many protections in the ACA, but we won’t allow President Trump’s desire to strip Americans of these vital health care protections to undo all the years of progress we’ve made,” said Attorney General James. “The president’s lack of concern for so many different groups as the nation continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic shows his blatant disregard for the health and well-being of the American people. We’re filing today’s motion to immediately halt and set aside the president’s efforts to rip coverage away from millions, including LGBTQ+ individuals, those who do not speak English, and women. Our coalition will continue to fight and do everything in our power to ensure health care remains a right for every American, and not just a privilege for the rich and powerful.”

In July, Attorney General James co-led a coalition of 23 attorneys general in filing a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), HHS Secretary Alex Azar, and the head of HHS’s Office of Civil Rights, Roger Severino, arguing that the new Trump Administration rule emboldens providers and insurers to discriminate against LGBTQ+ individuals, those with limited English proficiency, and women, among others, by stripping away express protections for these groups in HHS regulations that implement the nondiscrimination provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Section 1557 of the ACA — issued by the Obama Administration in 2016 — prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age by health programs or facilities that receive federal funds, but — despite numerous failed legislative and legal battles to repeal and dismantle the ACA by the Trump Administration — HHS is still trying to undermine many of the protections in this provision.

Today’s motion for summary judgment was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Joining Attorney General James in filing today’s motion for summary judgment are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.

This matter is being handled by Senior Trial Counsel Joseph Wardenski and Assistant Attorney General Fiona Kaye, both of the Executive Division; Deputy Bureau Chief Elena Goldstein and Assistant Attorney General Travis England, both of the Civil Rights Bureau; and Special Assistant Attorney General Marissa Lieberman-Klein of the Environmental Protection Bureau — all under the supervision of Chief Counsel for Federal Initiatives Matthew Colangelo. Both the Civil Rights Bureau and the Environmental Protection Bureau are part of the Division for Social Justice. The Executive Division and the Division for Social Justice are both overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.