March 23, 2020

On 10th Anniversary of Landmark Law & As COVID-19 Crisis Worsens, Duckworth Reiterates Call for Trump Administration to Stop Sabotaging of Affordable Care Act


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – On the 10th Anniversary of President Barack Obama signing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law and in the midst of the worsening COVID-19 pandemic which threatens to overwhelm our nation’s public health infrastructure, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) reiterated today that the Trump Administration should immediately end its attacks on the landmark healthcare legislation. Last week, Duckworth joined Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) along with 17 of her Senate colleagues in demanding the Trump Administration reverse course on efforts to repeal, sabotage and undermine healthcare coverage provided by the ACA, its efforts to slash funding for key public health agencies and its failure to ensure sufficient testing capacity and supply of critical medical equipment.

In the 10 years since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, it has helped 20 million Americans get health insurance and prohibited discrimination against the nearly 133 million Americans, like me, with pre-existing conditions—but the Trump Administration remains focused on sabotaging the landmark law and making it harder for Americans to access quality, affordable healthcare,” Duckworth said. “In the midst of this awful global pandemic, we should be working to protect access to critical health benefits and guarantee high-quality health coverage, not taking away coverage from hardworking Americans. We cannot—and will not—stop working to protect our healthcare.”

Since the COVID-19 public health crisis began, Senator Duckworth has led with a wide range of actions to bolster and improve the Federal Government’s support for Americans and help our nation respond to the pandemic, including supporting the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that the President signed into law to push the Trump Administration to refocus its efforts on increasing testing capacity for COVID-19. Early on, she was one of the first Senators to urge the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to immediately establish clear diagnostic testing procedures, capabilities and production capacity to better mitigate the spread of COVID-19. She introduced the COVID-19 Health Care Worker Protection Act to help keep frontline healthcare workers safe, cosponsored the Free COVID-19 Testing Act, which would expand free tests to confirm coronavirus infections, and helped introduce the comprehensive COVID-19 RELIEF for Small Businesses Act of 2020 to help support small businesses across the country and give them the resources they need to weather this crisis and she helped introduce legislation that passed both the House and the Senate and was signed into law to make sure student Veterans and their loved ones receiving benefits through the GI Bill continue receiving full benefits as universities move online. Duckworth also joined her colleagues on the PAID Leave Act (Providing Americans Insured Days of Leave Act) to provide additional support to workers and businesses during the coronavirus outbreak and future public health emergencies and helped introduce the Small Business Debt Relief Act of 2020 to ensure every small business with a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan would be relieved of their SBA loan payments.

In addition, Duckworth joined U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) in demanding additional federal resources from the Trump Administration for O’Hare International Airport after hundreds of passengers were forced to wait in close quarters for hours in order to clear medical screenings at customs. She called on Donald Trump to take immediate, concrete and decisive action under the Defense Production Act (DPA) to boost production of critical life-saving ventilators and to utilize the DPA to do more to bring back Illinoisans as well as any other Americans who are currently stranded abroad as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. She also called on U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to work together to ensure civilian healthcare workers are well-trained to use military-issued respirator masks and other personal protective equipment that DOD has made available to civilian healthcare providers during COVID-19 pandemic. Along with Senator Durbin, she sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) urging swift approval the State of Illinois’ Section 1135 Medicaid waiver, so the state can expand access to health services and have the flexibility to deliver quality care amid this public health crisis. Duckworth joined a bipartisan group of Senators urging the Trump Administration expand access to telehealth services to rural communities and she pressed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for information on the potential shortage of enzymes needed for CDC coronavirus test kits. The Senator is also seeking information from Secretary of Defense Mark Esper about any proactive steps the Department of Defense is taking to ensure the readiness of National Guard and Reserve units to support local civilian authorities as the pandemic spreads.