In New Amicus Brief, Cantwell, Murray, Entire Senate Democratic Caucus Fight To Protect Americans’ Health Care, Slam Republican Efforts To Rip Coverage From Millions Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Senate Democrats highlight bipartisan agreement that Congress did not intend to repeal the Affordable Care Act; Repealing ACA would destroy protections for pre-existing conditions that 3 million Washingtonians and more than 100 million Americans rely on; could increase uninsured rate by 65%

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate health committee, joined the entire Senate Democratic caucus in filing an amicus brief in California v. Texas (formerly Texas v. Azar), the court case brought by several Republican Attorneys General and the Trump administration that represents a direct threat to the Affordable Care Act and health care coverage for hundreds of millions of Americans. The case is currently pending before the Supreme Court.

In their brief, the forty-seven members of the Senate Democratic caucus argue that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate is constitutional, as the Supreme Court recognized in 2012, and that if the Supreme Court were to find the mandate unconstitutional, the remainder of the Affordable Care Act must remain intact. The lawmakers emphasize that in passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Congress, including members on both sides of the aisle, made clear that it did not intend to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Furthermore, if the Trump administration and Republican states were to succeed in striking down the ACA, there would be terrible, wide-spread consequences for patients, families, and the health care system across the country—especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To dismantle the Nation’s health care system at any time would be perilous. To do so during a global pandemic, when millions have lost work and the ACA provides an alternative to employer-based health insurance, would trigger even greater chaos,” the lawmakers wrote in the brief.

If Republicans were to succeed in sabotaging Americans’ health care, the pre-existing condition protections that more than 100 million Americans—including more than 3 million Washingtonians—rely on would be eliminated. Many Americans would be forced to pay sky-high costs for worse care. Approximately 20 million Americans would lose their health insurance in the first year alone. Premiums would increase for millions more, and prescription drug costs would skyrocket—particularly for millions of seniors—while drug companies profit.

“Invalidating the ACA would profoundly harm those who already face barriers to care, including older Americans, those facing economic hardship, women, and individuals with pre-existing conditions.  Such a result would be particularly devastating amidst a health crisis whose most deadly effects have been concentrated among many of these groups,” wrote the lawmakers.

Senators Cantwell and Murray have long championed the Affordable Care Act, working to expand and protect health care coverage for Americans, including for people with pre-existing conditions. In February, both senators urged President Trump to direct the Department of Justice (DOJ) to defend Affordable Care Act provisions that protect access to affordable health care for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions.

The full text of the amicus brief can be read HERE.