The Southern Christian Coalition has signed this open letter to Tennessee Attorney General Slatery. We are calling on AG Slatery to withdraw our state from a lawsuit that would endanger protections for our neighbors with pre-existing conditions. These attacks on people with pre-existing conditions do grave harm and are fundamentally in violation of the law as laid out by the Apostle Paul and Jesus Christ.
To Attorney General Herbert Slatery III,
On behalf of the 2,718,800 Tennesseans with pre-existing conditions, we are extremely disappointed in your decision to sign on to the Texas v. HHS lawsuit. By arguing that the elimination of the coverage requirement under the Trump-GOP tax law warrants the elimination of other vital insurance reforms, like prohibiting discrimination of or charging more for those who have pre-existing conditions, this lawsuit threatens to sabotage our health care system and access to reliable care for many.
And now, as part of this litigation, the Trump administration has told a federal court that it is opting to not defend the existing law and regulations, such as protections for pre-existing conditions. Make no mistake, the Trump Department of Justice’s abandonment of its obligation to defend our current health care system is the most potent and dangerous sabotage yet. But it was your lawsuit that prompted and is abetting this dereliction of duty.
Approximately 133 million nonelderly Americans have pre-existing conditions. Your lawsuit, combined with this latest move from the Trump Administration, would allow them to be charged more or denied coverage altogether based on prior health problems.
Older Americans are also put at risk since our current health care system limits how much insurance companies can charge older Americans. If this protection is eliminated, seniors in our country may no longer be able to afford health care and in turn would lose coverage. And the ban on insurance discrimination against women would disappear if this lawsuit prevails, resulting in women once again possibly being charged more than men for health coverage.
Furthermore, your lawsuit and the Trump DOJ’s brief creates yet another cloud of uncertainty for insurers all across the country, just as they are beginning to file proposed premiums for next year. And when insurers feel uncertainty, health care costs are more likely to spike even more.
If your lawsuit prevails, coverage for millions of Americans, protections for pre-existing conditions, and any semblance of stability in our health care system would disappear overnight.
On behalf of all Tennesseans – especially the 2,718,800 Tennesseans with pre-existing conditions – we call on you to withdraw your support for this lawsuit and instead work to ensure that millions of families across the country can continue to have access to quality, affordable care.
Southern Christian Coalition