Lawsuit Decried as “Cruel, Economically Stupid and Dangerous”

This week, Protect Our Care hosted press calls and digital events across the country with elected officials to bring attention to the Trump-Republican lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and discuss the briefs from Senate Democrats and other groups filed Wednesday in the Supreme Court. During press events with attorneys general and elected officials in Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Wisconsin, Democratic leaders described the damage of this lawsuit which if successful would rip health care from 20 million Americans and throw the health care system into complete chaos as the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic. 

Protect Our Care also hosted a national press call Wednesday with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Visiting Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School Andy Pincus, who made clear the devastation that would ensue if health care is ripped away from 20 million Americans as well as protections for 135 million with pre-existing conditions at a time when ensuring people’s health has never been more important.

POC also hosted a call on Tuesday with Senator Chris Murphy and Little Lobbyists to discuss the real-life human impacts of the lawsuit.

A look at Protect Our Care’s activity this week: 

NATIONAL PRESS CALLS

Wednesday, May 13 – Press Call with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (NY), Former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Visiting Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School Andy Pincus 

“Now more than ever, Americans need the Affordable Care Act. And yet, in the middle of this public health and economic emergency, the Trump administration is dedicating time and resources to eliminating health care coverage and pre-existing condition protections for millions of Americans,” said Leader Chuck Schumer. “But Senate Democrats won’t give up this fight. We are calling on the highest court of the land to affirm the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act and protect Americans’ care. The facts and the law are indisputably on our side.”

“Taking away health care from millions of Americans in the midst of a pandemic is cruel, economically stupid and dangerous,” said former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Despite this lawsuit — and innumerable other efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act — the ACA is working to make health care more widely accessible and affordable. We should be working to strengthen it, not undermine it.”

“The nearly three dozen amicus briefs that will be filed today, together with the briefs filed last week by the House of Representatives and California and the other intervening states, demonstrate that there simply are no credible legal grounds for the argument by Texas and the Trump administration,” said Andy Pincus, Partner at Mayer Brown and Visiting Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School. “These briefs also make clear the huge stakes of this case: everyone with a role in the health care system – from patient groups to health care providers to hospitals – is filing in support of the ACA. They all recognize the catastrophic consequences that would result from invalidating the ACA—and especially from doing so while the nation is fighting a pandemic.”

Listen to the call here.

Tuesday, May 12 – Press Call with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT)

“Because of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, we are approaching a 20% unemployment rate, meaning more and more Americans are finding themselves reliant on the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid in order to get themselves and their family insurance,” said Senator Chris Murphy. “And so, the number of people who are now at risk of losing their health insurance, if President Trump lawsuit is successful, is not just 20 million. It might be 25 million, or 30 million, or 35 million. The stakes are just hard to get your head wrapped around. So it makes no sense that this administration is pursuing a repeal of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement. But it makes even less sense that the administration is continuing to pursue this dangerous repeal effort in the middle of a pandemic.”

Listen to the call here.

STATE PRESS CALLS 

COLORADO

Monday, May 11 – Digital Roundtable with State Rep. Yadira Caraveo, Health Care Providers and Advocates

“I got to see what life was like before the ACA and how life has improved for my patients since the passing of the ACA,” said State Representative and pediatrician Yadira Caraveo. “Before the ACA was passed, we worried about labeling patients as having pre-existing conditions. Pediatric patients don’t have too many chronic diseases, but asthma is one of them. We used to get very creative when it came to wording for kids with wheezing or coughs, to try not to say asthma on their charts, because we knew that would affect them all the way down the line in getting insurance. If people lose access to preventive and primary care due to the elimination of the ACA… then we stand to see an increase in all sorts of illnesses down the line.”

Watch the roundtable here.

MAINE

Wednesday, May 13 – Bangor Daily News Op-Ed by State Rep. Thom Hartnett

“The Trump administration is making a tired, partisan, and nearly decade-long argument that, in the middle of a national crisis, would threaten the lives of even more innocent people. Republicans should drop this lawsuit and focus on protecting Mainers and all Americans when they need it the most,” said State Rep. Thom Hartnett. “Will COVID-19 be the newest pre-existing condition to be excluded from health insurance protection? We need the ACA now more than ever. The Trump administration’s relentless pursuit to hobble it is shameful.”

Read the full Bangor Daily News op-ed here.

MICHIGAN

Monday, May 11 – Oakland Press Op-Ed by David Woodward, Chairman of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners

“Eliminating the ACA would devastate the lives of Michiganders, including 73,000 Michigan young adults and 527,600 children in Michigan who would lose access to health care,” said Chairman David Woodward. “This week’s activities mark the beginning of a critical phase in the fight to protect Americans as our nation continues to grapple with this current unprecedented public health disaster. Trump and his allies will make absurd arguments to justify ripping health care from 20 million throughout these proceedings, while the death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic continues.”

Read the full Oakland Press op-ed here.

MINNESOTA

Wednesday, May 13 – Press Call with MN AG Keith Ellison and Former CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt

“The bottom line is that this lawsuit shows just how out of touch this administration is with the needs of Americans all over this country, regardless of geography or political persuasion,” said Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. “At the end of the day, in a country as wealthy and endowed with expertise and health care infrastructure such as ours is, no one should be worried about going bankrupt because they got sick. Yet, that is exactly what the door will be opened to if we cannot protect the Affordable Care Act.” 

“If this lawsuit prevails, and the Affordable Care Act is eliminated, it would be a complete disaster. The fact is that 2.4 million Minnesotans could be discriminated against and no longer be able to get health insurance coverage because of a pre-existing condition,” said former CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt. “This will hurt the communities who need health care the most.”

Listen to the press call here.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Wednesday, May 13 – Digital Roundtable with Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02)

“It’s unconscionable that President Trump and Congressional Republicans continue fighting in court to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, even as we are in the midst of combating a once in a lifetime pandemic with COVID-19,” said Rep. Annie Kuster. “More than 52 million Americans and 200,000 Granite Staters live with pre-existing conditions here in New Hampshire and every single day they’re threatened by the attacks of this administration on the Affordable Care Act.” 

Watch the roundtable here.

WISCONSIN

Thursday, May 14 – Digital Press Conference with WI AG Josh Kaul 

“This is a time when we need to make sure that if people need access to healthcare they are able to get it,” said Wisconsin Attorney General Kaul. “We need to make sure we are protecting people’s financial security. The Affordable Care Act does both of those things. Attacking [the law] in any case is a mistake, but attacking it in the middle of a pandemic is just horrible policy. We need to do what we can to keep the Affordable Care Act in place and that’s why we joined this amicus brief. I think it’s critical we keep these protections in place.”

Watch the press conference here.