June 30, 2020

Van Hollen, Cardin 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

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) joined Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and more than 30 Senate colleagues in condemning the Trump Administration’s “reckless” efforts to invalidate the Affordable Care Act. The Senators demanded that the Department of Justice (DOJ) defend existing law in court and halt its efforts to repeal health care protections for millions – including 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions — in the middle of a public health emergency. This legislation responds to the Trump Administration moving full-steam ahead to dismantle the health care law that provides coverage for millions of Americans.

“Despite a global pandemic, the Trump Administration is moving full speed ahead in their war to gut health care coverage. If they achieve their goal to repeal the Affordable Care Act through the courts, they will rip health insurance away from millions of Americans – including those with pre-existing conditions, hike prescription drug costs for seniors, and end cost-saving coverage for families. What’s more, Republicans have produced no alternative, so if they’re successful in their attempts, millions of Americans will be left in the lurch. We will keep fighting back to ensure Americans have affordable, accessible health care during and after this pandemic,” said Senator Van Hollen.

“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been a lifeline for tens of millions of Americans across the country, especially in the midst of a nationwide, public health emergency.  Healthcare is a right, not a privilege,” said Senator Cardin. "The administration’s attempt to erase quality, affordable healthcare coverage during a global pandemic is immoral.  We must continue to protect and expand access to health care as we continue to navigate this health crisis.”   

“This reckless effort puts millions of Americans – and thousands of Montanans – at risk at a time when they can afford it least,” Senator 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 and pull the rug out from underneath the millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions who depend on the law for health care coverage.  

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 resolution is also backed by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Dick Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Angus King (I-Maine), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). 

The current administration has repeatedly undermined the necessary healthcare protections for millions; Senators Cardin and Van Hollen joined their fellow Democratic colleagues in the amicus brief of California v. Texas, protecting the individual mandate. This public health emergency has threatened the health and safety of Americans across the country; both Senators Cardin and Van Hollen signed onto a letter that urged House and Senate leaders to take steps to ensure that those who have lost their employer-based benefits – and those who are uninsured or underinsured – do not have to face this major public health crisis without access to health insurance. 

The full resolution is available here.