Duckworth & Durbin Join Senate Democrats in Urging Trump Administration to Reverse Course & Defend Affordable Care Act in Court
U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and 46 of their colleagues today in urging the Trump Administration and the Department of Justice to immediately request a stay of a Judge’s recent decision in Texas v. United States to strike down the entirety of the Affordable Care Act. If that decision stands, tens of millions of Americans will lose their health insurance, healthcare costs will rise, and health insurers will once again be allowed to discriminate against the 133 million Americans who have a pre-existing condition.
“We are writing to express our serious concerns with the decision and to reiterate our strong objection to the Department of Justice’s refusal to defend the law of the land. If the ruling stands, nearly every American’s health care will be affected. The human cost of this decision is profound,” the Senators wrote in a letter to President Donald Trump. “The Affordable Care Act is, quite simply, the law of the land, and it is your Administration’s duty to defend it. We urge you to reverse course and direct the Department of Justice to defend the law of the land and pursue a stay of this decision. Millions of Americans are relying on you.”
In addition to Duckworth, Durbin and Manchin, the letter was signed by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Doug Jones (D-AL), Tom Carper (D-DE), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Tom Udall (D-NM), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jack Reed (D-RI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jon Tester (D-MT), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Gary Peters (D-MI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Angus King (I-ME) and Chris Murphy (D-CT).
The full letter is available below and online here:
Dear President Trump:
We are writing to express our serious concerns with the December 14th decision by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas in the matter of Texas v. United States and to reiterate our strong objection to the Department of Justice’s refusal to defend the law of the land.
Judge O’Connor’s decision wrongly declares the individual mandate unconstitutional and inseverable from the remainder of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This decision is not just legally unsound, itis inhumane and cruel.
If the ruling stands, nearly every American’s health care will be affected. The 20 million people who receive insurance coverage through the ACA will be left without the coverage they desperately need. Furthermore, 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions will be at risk of losing access to treatment. And millions of families, women, seniors, and people with low incomes will see their health care costs rise. It is no exaggeration to say that, if upheld, this decision is a matter of life and death to many Americans. We urge you to reverse course and direct the Department of Justice to defend the law of the land and pursue a stay of this decision.
It is not too late for you to condemn this decision by requesting a stay and taking steps to defend the Affordable Care Act moving forward. The ACA is, quite simply, the law of the land, and it is your Administration’s duty to defend it. Further, even among the numerous, failed attempts to repeal the ACA, there was widespread recognition that simply repealing the law without a replacement would be too devastating to American families and to our economy to fathom. Yet that is exactly what this ruling, if upheld, would do.
The human cost of this decision is profound. As mentioned above, tens of millions of Americans covered in the law’s Health Insurance Marketplaces and by Medicaid expansion will lose their insurance, and tens of millions more with health conditions from cancer to heart disease, pregnant women, and people with costly prescriptions could lose access to care or have to pay significantly more for it. It is also alarming that in the midst of the devastating opioid epidemic, millions of Americans suffering from substance use disorders would lose access to the treatment that they need to recover. But it does not stop there. Health care makes up over one-sixth of our economy: the uncertainty for health care providers created by the dramatic upheaval that this decision will inevitably cause will have a substantial economic impact on families, rural hospitals and clinics, businesses, state governments, and more.
Americans need you to work with us to defend their access to quality, affordable health care. We can work together to improve our health care system and reduce costs, but we must not let this flawed court decision stand and devastate millions of American families both physically and financially.
The fight for our health care in the case of Texas v. United States is not over. We urge you and the DOJ to immediately request a stay of this order and to uphold the rule of law by defending the constitutionality of current law. Millions of Americans are relying on you.
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