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Carper, Coons to Trump administration: Don't rip away health care during public health crisis

Delaware News Desk
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

As the Donald Trump administration moves to dismantle the health care law that provides coverage for millions of Americans, Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, both D-Delaware, joined Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, on July 2 to introduce a resolution with 44 other colleagues putting in the official Senate record their condemnation of that “reckless” effort and demanding the Department of Justice defend existing law in court and halt its efforts to repeal the health care protections for millions — including tens of millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions — in the middle of a public health emergency.

“The number of Americans our nation has lost to the coronavirus has now passed 128,000,” said Carper. “This weekend, the U.S. hit the highest single day total of new infections with nearly 40,000 confirmed cases. Last week, 1.4 million more Americans filed for unemployment bringing the total filings over a 15-week period to close to 50 million. In a world where we, the U.S., represent less than 5% of the world’s population, we’ve recorded 25% of the world’s cases and deaths related to the coronavirus,” said Senator Carper. “Still, the Trump administration is steadfast in its effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which provides quality, affordable health care to 23 million Americans and critical protections for those living with preexisting conditions. There is never a good time to rip away health care from millions of Americans, but now is a particularly egregious time. We are battling an unprecedented public health crisis that has left over 47 million hard working Americans without a job, tens of millions who rely on employee-sponsored health care. If the Trump administration refuses to lead, then they should at least stop actively trying to sabotage the health care on which millions are more dependent than ever. Our message is simple: stop attacking Delawareans and Americans’ life-saving care.”

“Last week, President Trump doubled down on his determination to overturn the Affordable Care Act and strip health care away from millions of Americans and many thousands of Delawareans,” said Coons. “Even though the courts have stopped him multiple times, the Trump administration once again filed briefs in support of a lawsuit from Texas to overturn the law. We cannot let that happen. Republicans and the Trump administration are still fighting to abolish the Affordable Care Act and take health care away from millions. In the middle of a pandemic, our government should do everything it can to protect Americans, not take away access to care.”

A week prior, 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 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, thousands of Delawareans could lose coverage, including the 62,500 Delawareans enrolled through Medicaid expansion and thousands of Delawareans younger than 26 who have stayed on their parents’ health coverage could lose their care.

Additionally more than 393,200 Delawareans 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. All of this would happen in the midst of a global health crisis that has already strapped providers across the country.

The senators’ 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 full text of the resolution is available at bit.ly/2ZAyxJY.