(Washington, DC) – As the Trump Administration continues its efforts to dismantle the health care law that provides coverage for millions of Americans, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) introduced a resolution with U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) and their colleagues putting in the official Senate record their condemnation of that “reckless” effort and demanding the Department of Justice (DOJ) to defend existing law in court and halt its efforts to repeal the health care protections for millions – including 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions— in the middle of a public health emergency.
“In continuing to support this reckless lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act, Republicans have chosen blind partisanship over the health and well-being of the American people,” said Senator Shaheen. “Not only is tearing away health care from millions of Americans in the midst of a pandemic cruel and unconscionable, but it also threatens to return us to the days where access to health care coverage was out of reach for far too many and when pre-existing condition protections didn’t exist. It’s time for Republican leaders to stop playing political games with Americans’ lives and work instead with Democrats to lower health care and prescription drug costs and expand access to quality health care coverage for all.”
“It is shameful that even during a national public health crisis, Republicans continue to try to rip health care coverage away from millions of Americans and strip protections for people with pre-existing conditions,” Senator Hassan said. “I am proud to stand with my fellow Democratic Senators to introduce this resolution strongly opposing this dangerous, partisan lawsuit. I urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to drop these attacks on Americans' health care and work with us to lower health care costs and strengthen the federal response to this pandemic.”
Last week, the DOJ and a group of Republican Attorneys General submitted a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court urging it to invalidate the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and pull the rug out from underneath the millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions who depend on the law for health care coverage. If the Supreme Court agrees and overturns the ACA, 105,000 Granite Staters could lose coverage, including more than 57,000 Granite Staters enrolled through Medicaid expansion.
Additionally, more than 571,000 Granite Staters who have pre-existing conditions could once again face annual or lifetime caps, medical underwriting for their insurance coverage, or denials for the care they need. Across the board, the state would lose billions of dollars in federal funds, causing significant job losses and jeopardizing the viability of New Hampshire’s hospitals. All of this in the midst of a global health crisis that has already strapped providers across New Hampshire.
The resolution urges DOJ to reverse its position and instead protect the millions of people who rely on the ACA for health care coverage amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has infected more than 2.4 million Americans and killed more than 125,000.
The resolution is also backed by Joe Manchin (D-WV), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mark Warner (D-VT), Doug Jones (D-AL), Tina Smith (D-MN), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tom Carper (D-DE), Dick Blumenthal (D-CT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Gary Peters (D-MI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Angus King (I-ME), Tom Udall (D-NM), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Bernie Sanders (D-VT).
Shaheen has led efforts in Congress to protect and improve the ACA, including leading all 47 Senate Democrats on a Senate resolution that would reverse the Department of Justice’s decision to side with U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor’s ruling that would strike down the ACA. This health care sabotage could result in 133 million Americans losing protections for pre-existing conditions, millions more Americans without health insurance, soaring prescription drug costs for seniors, and nearly 90,000 Granite Staters losing health care coverage. Instead of defending the law and its vital health care protections, the Trump administration’s DOJ chose to side with Texas and other states challenging our health care law last year, arguing that pre-existing condition protections are unconstitutional. The DOJ later expanded its position, arguing on the side of Judge O’Connor that the entire Affordable Care Act should be struck down.
In March, Senator Shaheen sent a letter with 23 of her colleagues to urge the Trump administration to re-open the enrollment period to allow people without health insurance to purchase an Obamacare plan through the health insurance marketplaces.
Last year, Shaheen introduced the Marketing and Outreach Restoration to Empower (MORE) Health Education Act of 2019 with Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Gary Peters (D-MI) to counteract Trump administration sabotage efforts that have slashed funding for health care enrollment advertising and marketing by 90 percent since the President took office. She also introduced the Protecting Americans with Pre-existing Conditions Act with Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to prevent the Trump administration from using federal premium tax credits to promote and incentivize enrollment in “junk plans” that do not provide coverage of pre-existing conditions or essential health benefits. Shaheen has also introduced a health care affordability package that includes three pieces of legislation to reduce health care costs for patients and expand access to critical medical services. Together, the Marketplace Certainty Act, Improving Health Insurance Affordability Act and Reducing Costs for Out-of-Network Services Act would make essential reforms to the health care law that would help stabilize the marketplace, lower premiums and deductibles for middle-class families and combat escalating out-of-pocket health care costs.
The full resolution is available HERE.