June 30, 2020

Harris, Tester, Colleagues to Trump Administration: Don’t Rip Away Health Care for Millions During Public Health Crisis

Senators introduce resolution slamming effort to invalidate Affordable Care Act  

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the Trump Administration moves full-steam ahead to dismantle the health care law that provides coverage for millions of Americans, U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) on Tuesday joined Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) and 46 of their colleagues in introducing a resolution 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.

“The Trump administration’s latest attempt to rip health care away from millions of Americans in the midst of pandemic is cruel,” said Harris. “Without the Affordable Care Act, millions of people in California and across the nation would be denied quality health coverage. While the administration continues to attempt to dismantle the ACA, we must remain committed to ensuring that everyone has access to affordable health care.” 

“This reckless effort puts millions of Americans – and thousands of Montanans – at risk at a time when they can afford it least,” Tester said. “Ripping away health coverage during a public health crisis is as irresponsible as it is cruel, and jeopardizes lives, our economy, and the rural Montana hospitals that rely on it to keep their doors open. While the Affordable Care Act is not perfect, scrapping it with no replacement would mean putting millions out in the cold in the middle of a global health emergency, and I will keep fighting every day to make sure access to quality, affordable health care is there for the folks who rely on it most.”

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, 112,000 Montanans could lose coverage, including the 85,000 Montanans enrolled through Medicaid expansion and 7,000 Montanans under the of age 26 who have stayed on their parents’ health coverage could lose their care.

Additionally more than 425,000 Montanans who have a 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 Montana’s rural and frontier hospitals. All of this would happen in the midst of a global health crisis that has already strapped providers across Montana.

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 2.5 million Americans and killed more than 125,000.

The resolution is also backed by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mark Warner (D-VA), 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), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), 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 (I-VT).

A copy of the resolution is available HERE.