Maryland’s attorney general will join his counterparts from 17 other states and the District of Columbia in a lawsuit against President Trump’s recent executive orders defunding subsidies provided under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh announced his office’s participation in the suit on Friday.

Brian E. Frosh, Maryland Attorney General. (Courtesy Photo/marylandattorneygeneral.gov)

The subsidies enabled insurance companies to lower healthcare costs to individuals and families by allowing their enrollment in plans with reduced co-pays, deductibles and coinsurance rates. Enrollment in these plans would reduce out-of-pocket expenses to the working poor, the Attorney General’s office said in a statement.

In addition to the costs to individual Marylanders, Frosh’s office raised concerns about immediate and long-term injuries to the state as a whole.

“President Trump’s decision to end cost sharing reduction payments is reckless, destructive and illegal,” Frosh said in the statement. “It will force millions of Americans to choose between paying for health insurance or buying groceries.”

“In Maryland alone, 400,000 Marylanders rely on the Affordable Care Act for health care coverage,” Frosh added. “Ending these legally required subsidies will jeopardize the health of millions of Americans. And, according to the Congressional Budget Office, it will one, cost the federal government nearly $200 billion more over the next decade; and two, increase the cost of health insurance for the average family by 20 percent.”

The cancellation of ACA subsidies coincided with another Trump executive order intended to expand the insurance market. The second order allows for the creation of health plans below the minimal acceptable level of coverage mandated by the ACA. Numerous critics of the order have questioned the value of these so-called “junk” insurance plans, which would not protect individuals with pre-existing conditions nor offer comprehensive coverage.

Trump’s order is the latest move in a seven-year campaign by conservative lawmakers to undo a hallmark legacy of the Obama administration. With Congressional Republicans unable to either repeal or replace ACA through the legislative process, the president’s executive orders may represent something nearly as effective. Without subsidies and with revised regulations, the insurance market may return to a pre-ACA shape without a vote.