On January 29, the National Women’s Law Center, along with over 54 other organizations that advocate for health care rights and immigrant rights, joined an amicus brief submitted by the National Health Law Program in John Doe #1 v. Trump, asking the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to grant rehearing en banc in a case challenging a Trump presidential proclamation that bars immigrants from entering into the United States unless they demonstrate they will have “approved” health coverage within 30 days after entry or the financial resources to pay for “reasonably foreseeable” health care costs. At the same time, the proclamation excludes Medicaid and ACA marketplace plans from its definition of “approved” coverage, thus requiring immigrants to obtain some other form of insurance, such as short-term, limited duration plans that do not comply with the ACA’s requirements for covering essential health benefits, non-discrimination requirements, or cost protections.
Although the Plaintiffs won a preliminary injunction at the district court, on December 31, 2020, the merits panel reversed in a 2-1 decision. In this brief, amici argue that the panel decision improperly allows the President to undermine and override the ACA and Medicaid’s carefully-tailored scheme for reducing uncompensated care costs, including for immigrants, and will instead result in underinsurance and increased uncompensated care. The brief further argues that the panel decision raises separation of powers concerns by authorizing the President to re-write domestic health care policy that Congress has enacted. Finally, the brief argues that the panel decision violates Supreme Court precedent by permitting the President to delegate power to regulate domestic health care policy to State Department officers who lack the requisite expertise. Amici ask that the full court of appeals rehear the case given the national importance of these issues.