Tester Slams Trump Administration’s Move to Kill Affordable Care Act: ‘If you want to cause a trainwreck in health care, this is a great way to do it’
Senator delivers impassioned speech on Senate floor after Administration’s latest attempt to rip health care from tens of millions
(U.S. Senate) - "If you want to cause a trainwreck in health care, this is a great way to do it," U.S. Senator Jon Tester said in a speech on the Senate floor today as he condemned the Trump Administration's most recent attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and rip health care away from tens of millions of Americans.
"If the Administration succeeds in dismantling our health care system, I guarantee you the cost of care will rise through the roof," Tester said. "There is no replacement here. We'll go back to the old system, where families are just one devastating diagnosis away from bankruptcy-particularly if you live in rural America."
Earlier this week, the Trump Administration endorsed a federal district court ruling against its own Justice Department that would strike down the ACA in its entirety-including Medicaid expansion, coverage for folks with preexisting conditions, and bans on annual and lifetime caps. In his speech, Tester cited the number of Montanans who would lose coverage as a result of this ruling, including the more than:
• 50,000 Montanans who buy their health care coverage on the ACA marketplace
• 90,000 Montanans who received coverage as a result of Medicaid expansion
• 152,000 Montanans who have pre-existing conditions
Dismantling the ACA, Tester argued, would also cause health care costs to skyrocket and imperil the sustainability of community health centers and hospitals-particularly in rural and frontier communities. Tester made a similar point during a Senate Appropriations hearing earlier in the day, where he asked FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb how this ruling could affect the approval of biosimilars and generic medications aimed at reducing the cost of prescription drugs.
"The ACA created a pathway for FDA approval of biosimilars. If the ACA is overturned, wouldn't this thwart the FDA's plan to increase access to biosimilars?" Tester asked Gottlieb during the hearing.
Gottlieb told Tester that yes, overturning the ACA would eliminate this pathway and if that happened, the FDA hoped Congress would work quickly to reauthorize it.
"It's a very important pathway and we fully support it," Gottlieb said, "and we think that it's been profoundly impactful to consumers."
Tester has helped introduce legislation that would allow the Senate's Legal Counsel to intervene in the lawsuit and defend the hundreds of thousands of Montanans who rely the ACA to access insurance. He has also introduced a number of bills to protect Montanans with preexisting conditions, expand access to health care, and lower prescription drug prices.
Read more about Tester's efforts to defend the ACA and increase access to affordable health care HERE.