Tester & Colleagues to Trump Administration: Don’t Rip Away Health Care for Millions During Public Health Crisis

Senator introduces resolution slamming effort to invalidate Affordable Care Act, take away health care coverage from more than 100,000 Montanans

As the Trump Administration moves full-steam ahead to dismantle the health care law that provides coverage for millions of Americans, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today introduced a resolution with 46 colleagues putting in the official Senate record their condemnation of that “reckless” effort and demanding the Department of Justice (DOJ) defend existing law in court and halt its efforts to repeal the health care protections for millions – including 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions— in the middle of a public health emergency.

“This reckless effort puts millions of Americans – and thousands of Montanans – at risk at a time when they can afford it least,” Tester said. “Ripping away health coverage during a public health crisis is as irresponsible as it is cruel, and it jeopardizes lives, our economy, and the rural Montana hospitals that rely on the Affordable Care Act to keep their doors open. While the ACA 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 depend 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 (ACA) 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, 112,000 Montanans could lose coverage, including the 85,000 Montanans enrolled through Medicaid expansion and 7,000 Montanans under the of age 26 who have stayed on their parents’ health coverage could lose their care.

Additionally more than 425,000 Montanans who have a 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 and jeopardizing the viability of Montana’s rural and frontier hospitals. All of this would happen in the midst of a global health crisis that has already strapped providers across Montana.

Tester’s 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 of New Hampshire, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Mark Warner of Virginia, Doug Jones of Alabama, Tina Smith of Minnesota, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Tom Carper of Delaware, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Richard Durbin of Illinois, Kamala Harris of California, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Patty Murray of Washington, Jacky Rosen of Nevada, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Gary Peters of Michigan, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Angus King of Maine, Tom Udall of New Mexico, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Dianne Feinstein of California, Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Chris Coons of Delaware, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Maria Cantwell of Washington, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Chuck Schumer of New York.

A staunch advocate for expanding access to quality affordable care, Tester has railed against the Administration’s attempts to gut America’s health care system and worked tirelessly to improve it. Last year, the Trump Administration went against Congressional intent by issuing a statement endorsing a judge’s ruling in the Texas v. U.S. lawsuit—a move that Tester strongly opposed. The decision deemed the individual mandate provision of the ACA unconstitutional thus striking down the health care law entirely.

Tester also pushed DOJ to halt its efforts to undermine the nation’s health care system, and called on Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to conduct a comprehensive review on the consequences of dismantling the ACA and assess the impacts of overturning the law on the federal, state, and local levels.

Tester’s full resolution is available HERE.