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Patients and Advocacy Groups File Federal Lawsuit Against the State of California to Overturn AB 290

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif., Nov. 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ --A Two kidney failure patients, together with two patient advocacy groupsa??the American Kidney Fund (AKF) and Dialysis Patient Citizens (DPC)a??filed a federal lawsuit today in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against the State of California. The lawsuit, Doe vs. Becerra, asks the court to strike down AB 290, the newly enacted law that will do irreversible harm to dialysis and transplant patients who need charitable assistance to help them pay for health care. Filed against California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, Shelley Rouillard, Director of the California Department of Managed Health Care, and Susan Fanelli, Acting Director of the California Department of Public Health, the suit calls for AB 290 to be ruled unconstitutional.
Patients and Advocacy Groups File Federal Lawsuit Against the State of California to Overturn AB 290
AB 290 is set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2020, placing AKF in the impossible position of having to choose between obeying federal law or state law in the operation of its longtime health insurance premium assistance program. The program helps more than 3,700 low-income, mostly minority, kidney failure patients in the state, and more than 75,000 nationally. The lawsuit aims to sustain health care coverage and access to care for needy Californians, including two patient plaintiffsa??Stephen Albright and a second plaintiff who has filed anonymouslya??who depend on AKF now and those who will need AKF's assistance in the future."With the enactment of AB 290, the California legislature has created an unnecessary crisis for Mr. Albright and the other plaintiff, along with thousands of other seriously ill patients across the state," said LaVarne Burton, president and chief executive officer of the American Kidney Fund.A "Without AKF financial support, these patients cannot afford their insurance; without coverage, they lose access to health care and the treatments that keep them alive. California policymakers have removed their safety net and let special interests win out over the needs of this underserved population. AKF remains committed to our promise to do everything we can to protect patients; with the lawsuit, we continue to fight this unconscionable effort by policymakers."Doe vs. Becerra claims that AB 290 is both unconstitutional and interferes with federal health care laws.A  As the complaint explains, AB 290 will force AKF to end its charitable premium assistance program in California because of the legal risk that the California law poses to AKF's financial assistance efforts throughout the country.A  It also tramples on the First Amendment freedoms of the patients, AKF, and DPC.A 
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