Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Attorney General Becerra Slams Patently Unlawful Trump Attack on Complete, Accurate Census Count

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today issued the following statement in light of the Trump Administration’s new unlawful attack on a complete and accurate census count:

“President Trump already lost in the Supreme Court trying to sabotage a complete and accurate census count. This latest attempt is even more flawed and transparent,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Is anyone surprised that the President has proposed yet another unlawful act by his administration? Get used to it. This is the way it’ll be, on steroids, until the end of his Presidency. He’s gambling with other people’s money — in this case, the taxpayers’ — so he doesn’t care. We care. The Census is not a toy, Mr. President. We’ll do what we must.”

This latest attack on the census comes after a coalition of attorneys general, including California, secured a U.S. Supreme Court decision blocking the path forward for President’s Trump’s unlawful citizenship question, in which the court held that the addition of the question was pretextual, as well as arbitrary and capricious.

About the Census

Every 10 years, the U.S. Constitution requires a census, a count of the nation’s entire population. The results of the census determine state representation in congress as well as the distribution of crucial federal funding. Billions of dollars that California receives in federal funding annually to fund programs and services that support the health and well-being of our communities are at stake. California cannot afford an undercount — it is critical for everyone to be counted, regardless of immigration status.

The California Census Office provides resources to make it easier for partners and stakeholders to help spread the message about the importance of participating in the 2020 Census to communities throughout California.

Census data is protected by law. Under Title 13 of the U.S. Code, census data is strictly confidential and can only be used for statistical purposes. Information provided cannot be used against residents by any government agency or court of law. For more than two hundred years, that’s the way it’s always been. More information about the Census Bureau’s protection of personal, identifiable information can be found here.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Attorney General Becerra Files Lawsuit Challenging Trump Administration’s Rule Rolling Back ACA Healthcare Anti-Discrimination Protections

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and New York Attorney General Leticia James, today, leading a coalition of 23 attorneys general, filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s final rule undermining “Nondiscrimination in Health and Health Education Programs or Activities” (Section 1557) of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Section 1557 prohibits discrimination in healthcare based on gender, race, national origin, sex, age, or disability. The Trump Administration's final rule undermines Section 1557's critical anti-discrimination protections for marginalized populations including the LGBTQ community, women, communities of color, and individuals with disabilities, at a time when they are most needed to help address the coronavirus pandemic. In the lawsuit, the coalition argues that the Section 1557 rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the equal protection guarantee of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

“Hard to believe any President would willingly expose Americans to discrimination in healthcare. But that’s what President Trump’s latest  rule would do,” said Attorney General Becerra. “In the midst of a global pandemic, it is critical that our leaders open doors to care and push back against existing biases in our healthcare system. Too many Americans already struggle to access essential care. We don’t need discrimination to make it worse. But this guy won’t stop, so neither will we. We’re taking President Trump to court to stop discrimination.”

The ACA prohibits discrimination in federal healthcare — from Medicaid, Medicare, and the healthcare exchanges, to federal healthcare grant programs providing safeguards against discrimination. Further, the ACA expressly seeks to provide equity in healthcare and prohibits any regulation that creates unreasonable barriers for individuals to obtain healthcare. The Trump Administration's final rule contradicts this and other federal civil rights laws by rolling back anti-discrimination protections for communities of color, women, LGBTQ individuals, those with limited English proficiency, and people with disabilities, effectively sanctioning discrimination in our healthcare system. Data shows that the coronavirus pandemic is already exacerbating racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare that the ACA attempted to address, particularly in states that have not expanded Medicaid.

In the lawsuit, the coalition argues that the Trump Administration’s final rule undermining Section 1557's anti-discrimination protections is unlawful because it:

Conflicts with the ACA and the APA;
Misconstrues federal civil rights laws including Title IX;
Exceeds HHS’s authority by redefining which communities are subject to Section 1557's anti-discrimination protections; and
Violates the equal protection guarantees of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
On April 30, 2020, Attorneys General Becerra, Healey and James led a multistate coalition in filing a comment letter urging HHS not to finalize its proposed regulation undermining the ACA’s critical Section 1557 anti-discrimination protections.

Attorneys General Becerra, Healey and James, are joined by the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. 

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