Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Jul 26 2018

OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson today issued the following statement regarding his latest lawsuit against the Trump Administration for its efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act. The lawsuit, filed by Ferguson and 11 other attorneys general, challenges a Department of Labor rule that allows small businesses and self-employed individuals to join association health plans, which could significantly draw healthy people out of state health care exchanges.

Ferguson’s lawsuit argues that the rule, published on June 21, unlawfully expands the definition of “employer” as passed by Congress. This conflicts with the clear statutory structure Congress set up when it passed the Affordable Care Act. Ferguson argues that expanding this definition requires an act of Congress. The Trump Administration cannot do it unilaterally.

“The U.S. Department of Labor’s rule illegally bolstering association health plans jeopardizes health insurance exchanges around the country, including here in Washington State. It not only hurts our state’s exchange, but also undermines the rules Washington’s Legislature put in place to protect association health plans for our state’s small businesses.

“This rule is the latest example of the Trump Administration’s efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. It could destabilize state insurance markets, leaving Washingtonians uninsured and more susceptible to fraud.

“I won’t let President Trump’s antagonism towards the Affordable Care Act leave hard-working Washingtonians without access to affordable health care.”

Assistant Attorneys General Attorney Jeff Sprung and Marta DeLeon are handling the case for Washington.

This is Ferguson’s third lawsuit regarding the Affordable Care Act and his 31st lawsuit against the Trump Administration. The Attorney General’s Office prevailed in all six cases against the Trump Administration that are completed and there are no more appeals. That does not include three additional successful outcomes that have been or could be appealed, including blocking President Trump’s ban on transgender individuals serving in the military and his attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.


The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.


Brionna Aho, Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; brionna.aho@atg.wa.gov