The fight against the Affordable Care Act found its way to federal court last week.
As Republicans push to finally repeal former President Barrack Obama’s health care law, Democrats are coming together from all over the country to rally for the millions of people who could lose their health insurance.
Lawmakers took to Capitol Hill last week to protest the lawsuit brought by the state of Texas. That case is currently being heard in a federal courtroom in New Orleans.
On the steps of the United States Senate, Democrats showed the faces of those who could be hurt if the ACA is struck down. Without the ACA, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions will lose access to affordable health care.
“Donald Trump and the Republicans want to take away your health care,” Schumer said.
Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen held a photo of a young girl named Xiomara who was born with 10 pre-existing conditions.
“If we did not have the Affordable Care Act in place, there is absolutely no way her family would be able to afford the health care that she needs,” Van Hollen said.
In the courtroom, Republican Attorneys General, supported by the U.S. Department of Justice, began oral arguments against the constitutionality of the ACA. Sen. Van Hollen said his Republican colleagues don’t have a plan to replace the law if it is struck down.
“You would think that someone has an alternative to help those people,” he said.
Republicans said removing the ACA won’t stop coverage of pre-existing conditions.
“Once again, they’ll try to blame Republicans as the bad guys,” Sen. John Cornyn said (R-TX). “If there’s one thing that I think there is a consensus on the health care field in Congress, it is that pre-existing conditions should be covered.”
Van Hollen said Republicans could put an end to this uncertainty by dropping the lawsuit.
In Columbus, city leaders and attorneys stepped forward to talk about the blow this lawsuit could deal to people in the Buckeye State. More than 740,000 Ohioans stand to lose their coverage if the ACA is dismantled. That would more than double the number of uninsured people living in Ohio.
One family doctor stressed the importance of keeping health care affordable for families.
“Knowing that Americans have an opportunity to seek health care is a big issue for me. It’s why I became a physician,” Dr. Ean Bett said. “So knowing that there was going to be a mechanism in place to say all Americans can get health care, was a big deal for me. So, when that passed, I said, ‘Hey, I really think even the people who are against this are gonna figure out that they’re really in favor of it.’”
Susan Hyde, a breast cancer survivor of 10 years, said she’s very concerned about how a possible dismantling of Obamacare would affect her.
“It has been really stressful,” she said. “If it gets repealed all the sudden, am I going be not covered under our health insurance plan? Are they going to charge our family more than they did previously because I’m a cancer survivor? So that’s a worry.”
Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein spoke at the health care press conference last week and shared a list from a pro-ACA advocacy group called Protect Our Care that details the negative effects that could happen if the ACA is repealed. That list includes:
- Ending protections for 4.8 million Ohioans with pre-existing conditions
- Forcing 250,000 senior citizens in the state to pay more for prescription drugs
- Kicking more than 80,000 young adults off their parent or guardians’ coverage
- Draining financial support for rural hospitals in Ohio and leaving them on the hook for nearly $2 billion in