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Area Doctors Call on Attorney. Gen. to Withdraw Support For Overturning the ACA

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West Virginia is one of 18 states that have been added to the lawsuit of Texas v. California, which seeks to overturn the Affordable Care Act. According to the group West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, the health care of approximately 184,000 W.Va. residents is made possible through the ACA, which was signed into law in 2010.

W.Va. was added to the lawsuit by State’s Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. On Monday, September 14, a letter was sent to Mr. Morrisey by 31 medical-practitioners across the state requesting that West Virginia be withdrawn from the lawsuit. According to the letter: “If successful (the lawsuit) will do irreparable harm to the health care coverage of 200,000 West Virginians and our state’s economy.”

The letter poses four questions to the Attorney General, all centering around the state’s plan to to address the health care needs of residents in the event that the law is overturned, as well as it’s plan for absorbing the costs of anticipated economic repercussions. Research conducted by the Commonwealth Fund indicates that overturning the Affordable Care Act would result in over 16,000 lost jobs, $438-million lost state and local revenue, and more than $9-billion in lost economic-output. And West Virginians for Affordable Care reports that West Virginia would be the second-most negatively impacted state in the country.

The matter of the ACA, which was initially upheld by the United States Supreme Court in 2012, will once again be heard before the Court on appeal. In their letter, the Doctors go on to say: “maintaining the health of West Virginians is our life’s work.” They concluded by requesting a meeting with Mr. Morrisey to discuss the state’s plans, and calling on the Attorney General to “remove yourself and our state as one of the 18 state attorneys general supporting this lawsuit until and unless these fundamental questions can be fully answered.”

September 14, 2020

The Honorable Patrick Morrisey

Attorney General of West Virginia

State Capitol Complex

Building 1. Room E-26

Charleston, WV 25305

     Re: Texas v. California (No. 19-1019. Vide 19-840)

Dear Attorney General Morrisey,

The United States Supreme Court has announced that it will hear arguments in Texas v. California on November 10. This is the lawsuit you have joined, on behalf of the people of West Virginia, that seeks to invalidate the Affordable Care Act.

As health care providers, we call on you to withdraw our state from this lawsuit. If successful, it will do irreparable harm to the health care coverage of 200,000 West Virginians and to our state’s economy.

We have four sets of questions for you about this lawsuit.

First: In the event that the Supreme Court declares the Affordable Care Act to be unconstitutional, is there a plan to provide medical coverage for the 200,000 West Virginians whose health coverage currently depends upon the ACA? Can the State of West Virginia pick up the tab if thousands of West Virginians impacted by the epidemics of diabetes, lung disease and addiction suddenly find themselves without health coverage?

Second: If the Court overturns the Affordable Care Act, does the state have a plan for mitigating the impact on West Virginia’s medical care providers, hospitals, and academic medical centers that will no longer receive payment for services rendered to patients who lose their coverage? Will the State be able to maintain health services in our rural communities?

Third: If the Supreme Court rules in your favor, do you anticipate that the decision would also eliminate the Act’s other healthcare protections such as the provision that closes the Medicare gaps in prescription drug coverage; the provision that prohibits insurance companies from raising premiums, or issuing a policy with a rider excluding coverage for pre-existing conditions, or denying coverage altogether due to pre-existing conditions; and the provisions that create a fairer process for coal miners with lung disease, and their widows, to show that they are eligible for black lung benefits?

The fourth question is related to the impact that elimination of the Affordable Care Act would have on West Virginia’s economy. The non-partisan Commonwealth Fund projects that ending the ACA will cost West Virginia 16,000 jobs, $9.1 billion in lost economic output, and $438 million in state and local revenues. Are these figures consistent with what you estimated before you joined the suit? If not, what is your estimate of the potential impact on West Virginia’s economy?

Maintaining the health of West Virginians is our life’s work. The COVID pandemic has increased the challenges we face in our work and our patients face in their daily lives.

We call on you to remove yourself and our state as one of the 18 state attorneys general supporting this lawsuit until and unless these fundamental questions can be fully answered.

We would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you and discuss what plans you have for addressing the challenges West Virginia would face the day after the Supreme Court vacates the ACA.

Sincerely,

Daniel Doyle M.D. Oak Hill

Michael Schroering M.D. Fairmont

Joanna Bailey M.D. Pineville

Agnes Franz M.D. Fairmont

Jessica McColley D.O. Elkview

Grace Falbo D.O. Charleston

Ken Hilsbos M.D. Fairmont

Katherine Calloway D.O., M.P.H. Charleston

Joseph Golden M.D. Beckley

Ilene Blacksberg M.D. Fairmont

Sue Westfall M.D. Charleston

Mitch Jacques M.D. PhD Charleston

Norman Siegel M.D. Beckley

Ron D. Stollings M.D. Madison

Joseph B. Reed M.D. Buckhannon

Tracy Hendershot M.D., FAAF Elizabeth

Kimberly Becher M.D. Clay

Bob Foster D.O. Ronceverte

Joan Phillips M.D. Charleston

Margaret Staggers M.D. Fayetteville

Benjamin Silverberg M.D. Morgantown

Ryan Morrison M.D. Charleston

Jeanne Wahl D.O. Lewisburg

Laura Miller D.O. Wheeling

Joe Durkalski D.O. Wheeling

Barbara Michael M.D. Charleston

Patricia Lally D.O. Rainelle

Chris Hill M.D. Fayetteville

Abdul Mirza M.D. Pratt

Rick Spencer M.D. Morgantown

Rosemarie Cannarella Lorenzetti M.D., M.P.H. Harpers Ferry

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